Coco Gauff, the 16-year-old American tennis star has taken a stance on racial injustice and the recent killing of George Floyd: she wants change to happen now.
Gauff stood poised behind a podium as she gave a passionate speech during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.
“I think it’s sad that I’m here protesting the same thing that (my grandmother) did 50-plus years ago,” Gauff said. “So I’m here to tell you guys that we must first love each other no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with our friends. I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement. Second, we need to take action.”
Although young, a large part of Gauff’s call to action is to vote.
“Yes, we’re all out here protesting, and I’m not of age to vote, and it’s in your hands to vote for my future, my brother’s future and for your future,” Gauff said. “So that’s one way to make change.”
Gauff continued: “Third, you need to use your voice, no matter how big or small your platform is, you need to use your voice. I saw a Dr. (Martin Luther) King quote that said, ‘The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.’ So, you need to not be silent. If you are choosing silence, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor.”
Earlier this week, Gauff also took to Twitter to post other ways you can make a change. When fellow tennis great Roger Federer posted a black square observing #BlackOutTuesday, Gauff was among the replies, sharing a direct link to blacklives.matter.carrd.co, an online database comprised of links to donations drives, petitions to sign and other resources to effect change.
Gauff ended her speech by reminding her audience that events like the tragic death of George Floyd have been happening for years.
“This is not just about George Floyd. This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor. This is about stuff that’s been happening. I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change? And it breaks my heart because I’m fighting for the future of my brothers. I’m fighting for the future of my future kids. I’m fighting for the future of my future grandchildren. So, we must change now.”