Pa’lante: Carmelo Anthony’s Politics Are Rooted In The Young Lords

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are two names that have ignited a new wave of activism concerning the extrajudicial executions felt disproportionately in black and brown communities across America. Both Sterling and Castile were two black civilians brutally slain at the hands of law enforcement. Throughout the U.S. riots and protests have spread like wildfire, prompting even the biggest of tabloid names to speak out against police brutality, including NBA star Carmelo Anthony. Using his platform to advocate for change, Anthony says he’ll “even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary.” Defiantly ambitious, yes. But it’s no surprise. 

READ: New Young Lords Exhibition Spotlights Women Who Led The Movement

Anthony’s late father, Carmelo Iriarte, was also an activist and a member of the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican nationalist group who stood side by side with the Black Panthers. The movement tackled social inequality, most notably in New York City and Chicago during the ’60s and ’70s. They also operated a free breakfast program for children (still running today), distributed hospital equipment to the needy, and cleared garbage from neighborhoods that needed it most.

First off let me start off by saying ” All Praise Due To The Most High.” Secondly, I’m all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people. Look I’ll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever. Martin Luther King marched. Malcolm X rebelled. Muhammad Ali literally fought for US. Our anger should be towards the system. If the system doesn’t change we will continue to turn on the TVs and see the same thing. We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right. A march doesn’t work. We tried that. I’ve tried that. A couple social media post/tweet doesn’t work. We’ve all tried that. That didn’t work. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work. While I don’t have a solution, and I’m pretty sure a lot of people don’t have a solution, we need to come together more than anything at this time. We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change. I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can’t worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE. Peace7 #StayMe7o

A photo posted by @carmeloanthony on

Not only is Anthony currently working on a documentary about the radical party, but the New York Knick is also throwing down gauntlets of his own, issuing a call to action concerning our country’s “broken” system. In it, he argued that athletes should not care about losing their endorsements over something as necessary as activism: “There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge.”

This is not the first time the two-time gold medal Olympian has used his high status for the greater good. As Remezcla reminds us, he’s participated in ads against gun violence, and has gifted basketball courts to the cities he was born and raised in, including Brooklyn and Baltimore. Digging into his Puerto Rican roots and mirroring his late father’s activism, Anthony’s also built and re-built basketball courts for the youth of La Perla, San Juan, Luquillo, Bayamón, and Trujillo Alto as well.

READ: Carmelo Anthony Prompts Fellow Athletes To “Step Up And Take Charge”

Ahead of next month’s Summer Olympics, Melo has hinted at making yet a greater political statement. “In three weeks I’ll travel to Rio with the United States’ Olympic team to perform on a global stage,” Anthony wrote in an essay published by The Guardian, prior to Wednesday night’s ESPYs. “I haven’t spoken with my teammates yet about the opportunity before us and how we can take advantage of it, because at the end of the day I want it to be genuine […] Whatever way we want to do it, this is a chance to do something meaningful before an audience of billions. I don’t know what that something is yet, but we still have time to figure it out.”