This month has been one of the most transformative months of my life. On May 25th George Floyd was killed for using a counterfeit piece of paper. He had his life taken from him for a nonviolent misdemeanor. Killed by a police officer who made a vow to protect and serve that community, not to mention the 4 other officers who watched as this psychopath slowly asphyxiated the life from George Floyd and didn’t see anything wrong with it. When I first heard about his death, I chalked it up to yet another injustice perpetrated against the American people by an untouchable institution that has largely had immunity from being punished for its many transgressions against its citizens and in particular, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clarke, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Freddy Gray, the list goes on much longer than this. Only one officer in these cases has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison. One.
I posted an Instagram story on June 1st that said that these acts of violence needed to end. That’s it, a story only lasts 24 hours and I thought that my little statement meant something. The next day I joined the social media movement with a video of the Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” thinking that we needed to show solidarity for the plight of our black brothers and sisters in their never-ending fight against oppression. Then I went back to business as usual.
Well not exactly as usual in the post-pandemic world we are now living in, but my attention was on opening up June 8th and I wanted to make sure we were ready. The Sunday night before we opened I first heard about the Glassman comments and things began to get real for me. You see even though I am against racism and police brutality, I didn’t understand how others in our community felt, and I didn’t truly understand my role in this fight.
The next day my business partners and I decided to deaffliate from the CrossFit brand because our business and personal values no longer aligned with Crossfit’s. This was an easy decision but a major one that would take considerable time, money, and energy to rebrand ourselves in a world filled with uncertainty and fear. I felt like this was the ultimate way of showing our commitment to inclusivity, justice, and community, but I was wrong.
It was a move in the right direction but it was not enough. You see in the same week one of my best coaches Claudia quit because she felt like I wasn’t saying enough. She expected me to stand up for what was right and I failed her. The very next day I had one of our members quit because he didn’t feel safe in the gym due to the fact that we hadn’t taken a stance against the continual brutality of black people by police. He was right. It’s not good enough to have good intentions anymore, to simply be non racist, it is time to be anti-racist.
That’s what I aspire to be, and in this instance, I fell short. That does not reflect who I am and I ask your forgiveness. I am learning and evolving in hopes that I can really begin to help bring light to the systemic racism that pervades our most treasured institutions and help create the positive changes we need in our communities around the country.