US tennis star Coco Gauff delivered an impassioned speech calling out racial injustice at a protest in her hometown on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old said she’s been having “tough conversations with friends” and will always use her platform to spread awareness.
“I think it’s sad that I’m here protesting the same thing (my grandmother) did 50 years ago,” Gauff told a crowd of protesters in Delray Beach, Florida.
“And it’s sad that it takes another black man’s life to be lost for all of this to happen, but we have to understand that this has been going on for years,” she said.
“This is not just about George Floyd. This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor.”
Gauff, who is too young to vote, urged others to use their vote as a form of protest.
“We’re all out here protesting and I am not of the age to vote, but it is in your hands to vote for my future, for my brothers’ future and for your future. So that is one way to make change.”
“I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change?”
Gauff called out young white people who consume and benefit from black popular culture but are disengaged with the fight against racism.
“I’ve heard many things in the last week and one of the things I’ve heard is, ‘It’s not my problem.'”
“This is what I have to tell you, this: If you listen to black music. If you like black culture. If you have black friends. Then this is your fight, too.
“It’s not your job, it’s not your duty, to open your mouth to say ‘Lil Uzi Vert is my favourite artist, but I don’t care what happened to George Floyd.’ Now how does that make sense?”
Gauff took the tennis world by storm last year, when at just 15-years-old, she convincingly beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.
Thank you, @CocoGauff, for using your platform to speak to both the young and the not so young about injustice.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) June 4, 2020
We stand with you and the entire black community. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/ISHXaToBG1
“And it breaks my heart because I’m fighting for the future for my brothers. I’m fighting for the future for my future kids. I’m fighting for the future for my future grandchildren,” Gauff said.
“So, we must change now, and I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information, spread awareness and fight racism.
“Black lives have always mattered, they mattered then, they matter now, and they will matter in the future.”