Basketball icon Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand are putting major money behind the movement against racial inequality in the U.S.
They plan to give an incredible $100 million to organizations dedicated to promoting racial equality and social justice, Time reported. The money will be paid over 10 years with the goal of “ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education,” Jordan and the Jordan Brand said in a joint statement on social media.
“Black lives matter,” the statement said. “This isn’t a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.”
The 57-year-old former Chicago Bulls great, owner of the Charlotte Hornets released an earlier statement on George Floyd and the killings of Black people at the hands of police.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” Jordan said. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage, and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
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The Jordan Brand is a subsidiary of Nike and has already committed $40 million over the next four years to support the Black community.
Jordan said he hopes his efforts will help make necessary changes in the U.S. “We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles,” Jordan told The Charlotte Observer. “We’ve got to understand at an early age (that can’t be tolerated). Education is such an important part” of societal change.
Part of the money will be used for education. Jordan said “access to education” is crucial to both upward mobility and changing cultural norms regarding race and poverty, The Charlotte Observer reported.
“It’s education 110 percent. My parents always stressed that education as how you best bond with other people. Education is the best route for Black people to better themselves,” Jordan pointed out. “To compete to be the best you can be, you have got to be educated. If you look at this country, that helping hand (to get a college education) is the best chance to stand up on your own.”
Jordan said he has yet to figure out to which organizations the money will be distributed. “We haven’t yet figured which vehicles to utilize. But it’s first about making an effort. It’s not just (donating) money. It’s the act of calling on all of us to take a look at ourselves. That’s an important start.”
This move by Jordan seems to be different from his previous responses to social problems and events. Earlier in his career, Jordan tended to stay mum against social and political issues, but he has become more outspoken recently, The Washington Post reported.
He spoke up when Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell his team after making racist comments in 2014. Then in 2016, he condemned the killing of African Americans by police. And when NFL players protested against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem in the fall of 2017 and President Trump “uninvited” the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House, Jordan spoke out.
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“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized,” he said then in a statement. “At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division.”
The time is now for things to change, Jordan told the Charlotte Observer. “We have been beaten down (as African Americans) for so many years. It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race.”