With the backdrop of protests against racism and police brutality nationwide, members of the Atlanta Hawks — led by head coach Lloyd Pierce, CEO Steve Koonin and others — made their voices heard across different platforms in recent days. On Monday, star point guard Trae Young began the week by announcing, via Twitter, that he would be attending a peaceful protest in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma.
Along the way, he invited others to join him.
Previously, Young made his voice heard on Instagram with a personal statement on Sunday but, not only did the 21-year-old superstar attend Monday’s protest at Andrews Park in Norman, he addressed the crowd in eloquent fashion.
Trae Young’s speech at the Norman rally. pic.twitter.com/yNcLgdz32R— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) June 1, 2020
Below is a transcript of Young’s speech to the crowd (h/t Oklahoman):
“I’m not used to doing this. I’m not very open about what I see or the things that go on in this world very often. But for me, even though I’m 21 years old, I feel that it was necessary. And this is bigger than me. I feel like this is a big step in the right direction. I grew up here in Norman. Everywhere I go, I try to represent this city as best I can.”
“I know this country is in a messed up place right now. For me, I just think it’s important that we all stick together and we stand up for what’s right. It’s not just gonna take just me. It’s not just gonna take just you. It’s all of us coming together and doing this as a collective unit. I feel like justice will be served and changes will be made if we all come together. This is us doing it. This is the first step.”
“I’m happy that everybody came out here today and proud to be here. Proud to be from Norman, Oklahoma. I grew up here. And so for me, I didn’t wanna come up here and talk too much. But I pray every day that justice will be served for George and his family. Not just him, it’s hundreds and hundreds of other people. Breonna Taylor, everybody. It’s not just them. This has gotta change. Thank you guys for letting me talk and I just wanna say: no justice, no peace.”
Young also made it known that he was not there as a prominent figure in the sports world, but rather as a leader in search of overarching change.
“I’m here to be a leader. I’m here to be supportive. I’m here to make change.”— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) June 1, 2020
Powerful message from Trae Young. pic.twitter.com/dBzkrn9gOv
John Collins — who also encouraged Young directly — and Kevin Huerter each weighed in with their own sentiments on Monday.
What we have to collectively figure out moving forward is what WE can do to create REAL change. What can WE do to prevent history from repeating itself OVER and OVER again. Do not forget what real issues we have. Our system is broken. Do Not Be Silent. Educate yourself and VOTE.— Kevin Huerter (@KevinHuerter) June 1, 2020
After the gathering, Young shared a simple, yet powerful image.