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Take A Stand For What You Believe In

Why racism, police brutality and bullying, will best be defeated as a team

“For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better. For things to improve, you have to improve. When you grow, everything in your life grows with you.” — Jim Rohn

Personally, I don’t often publicly express my viewpoints on racism, religion, the universe, bullying, bigotry, gender inequality, white privilege, health care, etc. It’s not that I’m avoiding the elephant in the room, but to openly discuss matters of race, politics and geopolitical concerns takes chutzpah. Especially when its done in 2017 and through a medium of exchange such as social media.

You may or may not agree with my comments or viewpoints but that’s the beauty, as well as the frustration of living in our American country. Yes we are the leader of freedom throughout the entire world. However, recently you could make the argument that our country has been an embarrassment to the world. Individuals living overseas and in other countries laugh at the ridiculousness they witness taking place in America. You may or may not be shocked but American’s living in our states feel the same way too.

Some of you probably haven’t watched Gregg Popovich’s, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, interview the other day regarding these issues, as well as his viewpoints. I agree race is the elephant in the room and nothing will change until people feel uncomfortable about these issues, especially white people.

Here’s a piece from Popovich openly talking about these concerns:

“Obviously, race is the elephant in the room, and we all understand that, but unless it is talked about constantly, it is not going to get better,” Popovich said. “People get bored. ‘Oh, is it that again. He’s pulling the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?’ Well, because it’s uncomfortable and there has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change. Whether it’s the LGBT movement or women’s suffrage, it doesn’t matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue of what being born white means … It’s hard to sit down and decide, yes, it’s like you are at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You’ve got that kind of a lead. Yes, because you were born white, you have advantages that are systemically, culturally, psychologically, there, and they have been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can’t look at it. It’s too difficult … People want to hold their position. They want the status quo. People don’t want to give that up. And until it is given up, it’s not going to be fixed.”

You can see his speech here:

Ultimately though, constant complaining about our 45th President of the United States isn’t going to get us far. It is time for people to actually do something to create change instead of constantly running their mouths and making excuses. We have choices here in America! Lastly, Popovich says, “We can continue to bounce our heads off the wall with his conduct or we can decide the institutions of our country are more important, that people are more important, that the decent America we all thought we had and want is more important and get down to business at the grassroots level and do what we have to do.”

Living in this country gives us the ability to say and think what we do. This isn’t solely based off of positional leadership. Recognize some individuals rarely speak out in public and for good reasons today. So many of our words and answers are skewed and misinterpreted by the media that I don’t blame people like Gregg Popovich for rarely speaking out. However, when he does we need to respect him for having the strength and being bold enough to take a stand. That being said for many others too. Listen with both ears when they’re speaking about in regards to an important cause or message.

Moving forward, the other elephant in the room is the protesting of police brutality and racial injustice. That’s been made clear by the significance of Colin Kaepernick and others teammates, now professional athletes exercising their constitutional rights by taking a knee in support. Several continue to protest and after the NFL weekend millions just witnessed, I don’t believe this will stop any time soon.

In all actuality, President Trump, the kneeling has a lot to do with race. A small percentage, like .001%, may have to do with respect for our country, veterans, flag and national anthem, but please don’t get the message confused. We should love, support, and respect our veterans and country, do not misunderstand that, but now there are bigger problems that must be solved. If you’re still confused why NFL players are protesting during the national anthem, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin will help you to better understand:

Even Pittsburgh Steelers lineman, and former Army Ranger, Alejandro Villanueva is taking a stand, and ultimately might agree with Colin Kaepernick’s long term mission. He said on Sunday’s game, “I have not been offended by NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem and I don’t think as a veteran, I take offense.” Moreover, “Nobody thinks that when you’re taking a knee, you’re offending the flag,” he said. Similarly, Villanueva pointed out, “I don’t think anyone standing for the flag is not respecting the fact that there is a lot of injustices and racial divide in our country.”

One of the only ways in which we’ll confront these issues is by coming together, similarly as a team does, in order to take a more pressing stand for finding solutions to racism, police brutality, bullying, bigotry, white privilege, gender inequality, and so much more. Face it we are a weaponized country with a giant military presence and huge police force. Does it really need to be that massive? Imagine what could be done by dispersing some of those finances, wealth, power, education and resources to those who actually need it. I’ve never said I have all the answers and it’s clear we’re still looking for them. It’s time for Gen Y, Gen X and the Baby Boomers to come together in order to finally put a stop to all of this nonsense.

We were meant to be a more peaceful nation, to be able to have fun, be able to walk outside of our homes, express ourselves, enjoy our education and time in school, find high-paying jobs to be able to provide for families, participate in athletics without being bullied, have a direct conversation about solutions to racism, and for once, be recognized as the country where individuals can come to be free, not to be sold a lie and false illusion that freedom is attainable when in reality it still is not for millions and millions of people. The world is changed by our examples, not by our opinions.

Thanks for reading!

My Very Best,

Donovan Vogel

Written by

Philadelphia based teaching financial literacy | Prospering all other hours | Writer | Lifter | Reader | Traveler | Freedom & Wellness

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