As the relationship between African-Americans and law enforcement continue to widen with no hope for understanding seemingly in the future, many black men and women fear they’ll be shot and killed by police simply for being black. Despite her fame, wealth and accomplishments, tennis titan Serena Williams understands that fear, and expressed it in a candid and poignant open letter.
The 35-year-old took to Facebook Tuesday (Sept. 27) to share a story many African-American women with African-American husbands, sons, brothers, uncles and nephews experience every time they leave their home. In the letter, Williams explains she asked her 18-year-old nephew to drive her so she can work on her phone. However, her desire to be responsible and safe brought about immense fear when she saw an officer on the side of the road.
“I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit. Than I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds,” Williams wrote.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion wondered why in America, after all the progress that has been made, does she still fear for the safety of her 18-year-old nephew that he described as ” innocent.” She then remembered the countless other black men and women who were also innocent but who still were fatally shot.
“Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? But I realized we must stride on- for it’s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.”
Williams ended her letter by making a clear stand and publicly stating she isn’t willing to stay quiet to make others comfortable.
“What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters? As Dr. Martin Luther King said ” There comes a time when silence is betrayal. I. Won’t. Be. Silent.”
Check out Serena Williams full letter below.