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5 activists advocating against the scars left from gentrification

As gentrification continues to plague communities of color we have to wonder who are the activists advocating against gentrification?

Gentrification has always been very much a prevalent issue surrounding communities. Its impact targets communities that obtain significant cultural identities that are vulnerable.

Here are some activists and organizations that have kept communities together and have fought against the harsh impacts of gentrification in their communities.

1. Corky Lee‘s activism against gentrification lives on through photography

corky lee photographer
Lee, a Chinese American activist, and photographer born in Queens, New York City has been documenting New York City’s Asian American Community for half a century.

His photos have revealed the effects that Asians in America have dealt with through civil rights protests and racist immigration legislation.

These intimate photographs have portrayed real-life hardships within the Asian community living in America. Challenging the universal notions of photography, Lee is the definition of photographic justice. 

chinese laborers
The original photo commemorates its completion without Chinese laborers.
VIA National Archives
chinese laborers gentrification
Descendants of Chinese laborers reclaim railroad history on the 145th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad in Promontory, Utah in this photo recreation.

The original photo commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 did not include Chinese laborers.

Visualizations of minority struggles create impacts to community organizing because it goes against ideas such as the model minority myth. His work represents communities that continue to spark conversations that are important in going against situations such as gentrification. 

chinatown gentrification
1993 photo, Lee holds an old postcard against the background of Chinatown
Image Credit: Corky Lee

His photographs reveal the severeness of gentrification, and the pain that it has left with the Asian and Asian American communities. 

Lee passed away in January of 2021 due to COVID-19, however, his work ensures not only a photo but a story that serves justice.

2. Community Movement Builders (CMB) have one goal in mind

This collective black organization aims to create sustainable economic advancements within communities. Their goal for sustainability is to produce cooperative economic systems surrounding the black community that builds shared wealth, education, culture, and more. 

CMB goes against operations that hurt communities such as xenophobia, capitalism, and classism. Their passion is to help create a world that is free of oppression ridding all harsh impacts towards communities. 

The fight for the immediate end of gentrification to create a safe path to affordable housing is one of their many exercises against gentrification. Their emphasis on improving and investing in community development that lasts is significant in achieving their goal.

3. Kai Wen Yang is securing livlihoods and supports activists against gentrification

activist against gentrification

Sociologist and professor, Kai Wen Yang has been an activist against gentrification through extensive research and background analysis.He shares his work at international conferences on topics such as systems and capitalism.

His work with displacement and immigration has been seen from advocating for workers’ rights by using organizations such as Aint I a Woman, a platform that advocates for women of color on anti-sweatshop activism.

Yang has fought for securing livelihoods and stability against gentrification within communities and through education systems. 

4. Diane Wong  uses storytelling to focus on intergenerational resistance towards gentrification

diane wong gentrification
Wong working with local residents
VIA Diane Wong Website

Wong is a Chinese American who was born and raised in Flushing, Queens, New York City is an Assistant Professor at Rutger University.

Her specialty is in political science that is specifically tied to the Asian diaspora and the urban immigrant experience. Wong’s work is tied within the community of Manhattan’s Chinatown by focussing on intergenerational resistance towards gentrification.

She uses ethnography, participatory mapping, archival research, and works with people who have helped build the true colors of Chinatown.

The impact to her community, and to many who call Chinatown their home from home has made big differences in tying down culture. People living within Chinatown have been harshly affected through business and housing aspects due to gentrification. 

The heart and soul of Chinatown are from its people, and to strip away these cultures from gentrification is a shame. Wong’s impact strengthens and links the soul of Chinatown. Take a look at her website on her work and plans for the community.

5. Tom Angotti is an activist against gentrification through urban planning

activists against gentrification
Photo Credits William Staffeld

Angotti, also a professor, targets gentrification on the aspects of urban planning. He founded the Center for Community Planning and Development which is a platform that promotes knowledge and innovative practices in community development. 

It has formed projects that address affordable housing, and community economic development that is against gentrification. 

His website displays the different impacts and perspectives of gentrification through statistics and facts that reveal the brutal impact on communities. 

Take a look at his article about the high rent increases within real estate properties that have caused evictions and buyouts.

How Naomi Osaka is inspiring a generation of sports activism

Naomi Osaka and her recent acts of activism stand at the forefront of her career.

Her legacy once she decides to walk away from the sport may be for an even bigger calling than what she does with the racquet in her hand.

Months before the US Open Naomi told Reuters “I’m vocal because I believe in the movement and want to try to use my platform to facilitate change. George Floyd’s murder and the situation generally in America has had a big impact on me. ”

“Being silent is never the answer. Everyone should have a voice in the matter and use it.”


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Osaka is a leader through and through, and her most recent efforts to keep awareness on social justice and the Black lives murdered by police exemplify her noble demeanor.

After her win Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the US Open, Osaka was nearly brought to tears by video messages from the parents of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.

Martin’s mother and Arbery’s father thanked her for keeping the message on their children and other Black lives snatched away by police violence.

Osaka has worn a mask carrying the name of a different victim of police murders each time before her match.

“I just want to say thank you to Naomi Osaka for representing Trayvon Martin on your customized mask and also for Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor,” said Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, in a video message played for Osaka on ESPN.

“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Continue to do well. Continue to kick butt at the US Open.”

Arbery’s father gave his own touching statement:

“God bless you for what you’re doing and you supporting our family with my son. My family really, really appreciates that, and God bless you.”

Osaka was not one to pat herself on the back for her actions, though us in the know, surely will.

“For me, it’s a bit surreal, and it’s extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I’m doing. For me, I feel like what I’m doing is nothing. It’s a spec of what I could be doing,” the superstar solemnly stated. “I’m really grateful and I’m really humbled.”

Many of us feel similarly stumped by not knowing what we can do to combat police violence and racial injustice. There are smaller things, like spreading awareness, that make a big difference. But often, in the grand scheme of things, those quick actions don’t feel like enough.

Jacob Blake’s shooting and other Black lives lost in recent weeks show that although the world is watching, injustice and racism still permeates without fail.

But Osaka, who is ranked as the ninth best women singles player in the world, has a platform that most people couldn’t even fathom. As a Japanese citizen but recent-U.S. citizen, Osaka also has the ears and eyes of people stretching across vast stretches of miles on the Earth.

She is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and for that, we salute her.

Keep on Naomi Osaka

Justice League NYC calls virtual town hall meeting on police brutality

In a recent virtual town hall meeting, Justice League NYC called upon the victims of police brutality, to elevate their stories. The organization also featured the voices of various activists to help demystify the #Defundthepolice movement.

The Justice League of NYC emphasized the trauma of the victims of police brutality in hopes to further encourage others to recognize the abuse of power that many officers hold.

Although taking place online, this meeting did not lose any of the impacts it sought to create.

Crime is just a way to legally enforce abuse

Brea Baker, a member of the Justice League NYC & Inspire Justice, began the meeting with the history of the police.

She reminded viewers that the police were originally created as slave patrollers. The institution of the police force did not intend to protect their citizens, but rather they enforced inhumane ways of treating those that they deemed “criminal.” The police were a way to enforce laws on and out of plantations. After the Civil War, the police became a way to reinforce Jim Crow Laws.

“Crime is a social construct”

Legislatures created crimes with the intention to give law enforcement an excuse to incarcerate. As a result, these social constructs became a way to control the general public, especially those they deemed as “extremists”.

“Extremists” are those the law considers having an opposing view or views against the government. During the 1960s and 1970s, the establishment and government institutions considered hippies and civil rights activists ‘extremists’. Now in 2020, anyone who is against police brutality is supposedly an ‘extremist’ –when we know that is not an accurate description.

Institutions can also inflict abuse by the way of involuntary labor. The US would not be where it is today without free labor. Time after time, no matter how far you look, there have always been instances where those in power exploited others for their labor. The most recognizable form of unpaid labor was slavery. And even now, in 2020, people are still being used for unpaid labor. While in the past they may have been slaves now they’re prisoners or inmates.

We must be unified

The citizens of the USA must understand the similarities between two large minority groups when it comes to prison systems: Hispanics/Latinos and Black people. Both are incarcerated at alarming rates, with the understanding that incarceration equals rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation through exploitative labor is pervasive in our culture as many of us consider it the only way to stop ‘crimes’ from happening.

That said it is important for the Hispanic/Latino community and the Black community to set aside their differences and internalized racism to work together and defeat police brutality with ideas that actually work.

Families are the losers

The siblings and family members of the police brutality victims shared their stories and the horrors of what had transpired and continues to transpire.

“Be afraid that the families are unified, the families know what changes are needed” – Yul-san Liem

It is important for families to advocate for the decertification of the police. Especially after losing a family member due to police abusing their power.

Allisa Findley states “These deaths cannot be worthless… they cannot have died without it meaning something in the face of police brutality”

Ashley Monterrosa, sister of Sean Moterrosa, believes they must turn their pain into power. Ashley and her sister, Michelle Monterrosa, recounted the story of finding out what happened to their brother with tears. They also exposed the disgusting traditions the Vallejo police have.

“They handcuffed him even after he was lifeless”

The Bay Area community knows the Vallejo police force has police officers that have not gone through training. The VPD also has the horrifying tradition of murdering someone in cold blood, as an initiation. After each murder, the cops would then bend a part of their badge as though it is a trophy.

Sean Monterrosa’s case then had its evidence tampered with and destroyed.

The justice system led each family who experienced the abuse of power at the hands of the police on a wild goose chase in the family’s attempt to learn about their family member’s death.

What to do?

We cannot let the abuse of power go any further. Countless lives have been taken and yet the murderers have not suffered the consequences.

We must vote with integrity, education, and know what we are supporting. 

#Defundthepolice #decertifythepolice

Watch the full broadcast of the virtual town hall meeting here.

Listen below to the first episode our joint podcast with The Gathering for Justice: Advocate Daily. In this episode, we speak with community activist, The Gathering for Justice CEO and President Carmen Perez-Jordan.

Are you a soul searcher? 5 signs you are a neo-hippie

Images of flowing red lava lamps, flower crowns, VW buses, and crusties in the mud likely come to mind when thinking “hippie.” However, the psychedelic protest rock sounds of 60s culture is a far cry from those who would be considered hippies by today’s standards.

So are you a neo hippie?

The hippie of today, the neo hippie, looks quite a bit different, yet maintains the ideology of peace toward your fellow man. The neo-hippie continues the spirit of activism in new mediums, spreading awareness for causes online.

You can see them coming out of yoga class, collecting crystals as they adjust their septum piercings.

Though fashion and times may change, the philosophy of peace and a better world resonates throughout the generations. The focus of spirituality, self-awareness, and self-growth stay at the core of the ideology, no matter the time.

It has never been a better time to get in touch with your inner spirituality, so here are five ways you’ll know you’re neo hippie.

You go hard with the meditation

In these stressful times, meditation has been the escape of many a neo hippie. Meditation will help you find your center, bringing calm to an otherwise anxious mind.

If you’re having trouble lately, just find a quiet spot free of distraction, close your eyes, and breathe slowly in a consistent rhythm. Focus on your breathing, as it will keep you from intrusive thoughts.

Peace towards others begins with peace of mind, my friends.

You Support Mad Causes

Flower Guns GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Now it is easier than ever to have your opinions heard to a wide span of people. As we know, many who wield this power lack anything to say, though some use their voices for causes just and true. With support for the essential workers on the rise, raising awareness for them is as easy as tapping post!

The endless news link-sharing on social media gets old, but there are more creative ways to get the word out. Creating art in support of a cause is a fantastic way to raise awareness and share support online. Creativity is embedded in hippie culture of all generations, so create!

You Get Lost in the Music

Lost in music - GIF on Imgur

Whether you prefer the psychedelic stylings of the Grateful Dead or the wavy beats of Wiz Khalifa, connection to music is something of a spiritual experience for the hippie. Usually paired with the good herb, music is one of few forces in the universe that keeps us afloat in even our most trying times.

The music itself can be used for meditation, so if you find relaxation in it, then go for it! Now is a time to create music, or to learn more about it. Feel the rhythm of the universe!

You’re Addicted to Nature

Saoirse Ronan Film GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Environmental care is one of the cornerstones of hippie ideology, and for good reason. Isolation in nature, wherever you may be, is sure to offer a sense of serenity to any wanderer. Now that we’re free from many of life’s distractions, we can observe the natural beauty around us.

Neo hippies, who’ve grown up on an ozone layer-endangered planet, have rallied behind the environment as a key cause. Some have done so by going vegan, others by planting, and others by simply being conscientious of consumption.

You’re an Avid Crystal Throwing Rock Star

iridescent crystals gif | WiffleGif

A process of manifestation, crystal throwing is when you take a small crystal from a bag at random and toss it on a grid. Where it lands and which stone it is, holds a plethora of meanings, depending on the interpretation.

This practice is one the neo hippie has taken quite a shining to. If you want to promote positivity in your future endeavors, some crystal throwing couldn’t hurt!

Now go on, roll yourself up a fatty, and enjoy the wonders of nature!

Why Marsha P. Johnson should be on your list of iconic activists

Marsha P. Johnson was one of the first drag queens to set foot in the Stonewall Inn. Known for her cornucopia-like headpieces, sequined robes, undying kindness, and red plastic heels, Johnson became a known figure advocating for the rights of gay and trans youth from 1969 to 1992.

Despite her tireless work, Johnson initially went unrecognized when it came to conversations about the gay liberation movement’s progression. However, recently, and especially through the medium of film and social media, Johnson’s name is being represented as a powerful but forgotten figure to be thankful for.

Trans Day Of Visibility Gay GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Johnson’s narrative brings to light an important phenomenon as to how communities pick their idols and importance being reclaimed by communities repressed within its own subculture: Johnson’s name has been reassigned importance due to the visibility of and persistent violence against trans communities across America.

Johnson could not be recognized as a figurehead of the LGBT community in life because she was a black, trans woman; her initial erasure from the greater gay liberation narrative made the gay liberation movement digestible for white, straight, middle-class allies.

As a homeless, black, trans woman, Johnson was forced to fight from the ground up. In 1973, Johnson was banned from participating in the gay pride parade by the committee who organized the event on the ground that the presence of drag queens at the marches were “giving them a bad name.”

Johnson’s initial erasure from accounts of the Stonewall riots was due to similar sentiments.

The constant exclusion Johnson faced paints a very clear picture as to how many orchestrators of the gay liberation movement wanted the movement to look as assimilative as possible to possible white/straight allies.

Johnson was unable to gain recognition for her activism during her life as she was barred from being represented due to her minority status as a trans woman of color.

It was only due to the development of social media and newfound accessibility of information due to corporations such as Twitter, Netflix, and YouTube that Johnson’s legacy was able to be recognized.

This can best be seen by the two documentaries Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson (2012), directed by Michael Kasino and David France’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017).

These two documentaries gave Johnson recognition on a national scale and were both accessible for casual consumption from your personal device: Kasino published Pay It No Mind on YouTube and France’s work is a Netflix Original Documentary.

These directors brought to light a narrative of Johnson’s life story that did not solely rely upon her involvement in Stonewall or her mysterious death; by interviewing Johnson’s friends and family, both directors were able to uplift the image of Johnson as the women who started the first advocacy group for trans youth and fought for the rights of sex workers and those most effected by the AIDs epidemic.

Johnson’s rise to fame on social media platforms should come to no surprise as social media has become one of the most viable options for minority voices to be heard the loudest.

This fact can be clearly seen in a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center which juxtaposes the higher importance black social media users place on social media to express/get involved with political issues versus their white counterparts.

Therefore, social-media based activism and accessible platforms of entertainment, namely YouTube and Netflix, were crucial in forming Johnson as a new figurehead for trans rights in America.

Johnson’s narrative perfectly fits into a cultural movement to recognize the trans community in a way that wasn’t possible before, as the tragedy of Johnson’s story is something that can relatable for a majority of trans-Americans.

“I think we read tales of terrible events not to see what happens to people but to find out who they are,” writes essayist Scott Berg.

“Tragedy uncovers character, in the sense that it introduces new people to the historical record and also provides a greater, keener, and more complex understanding of their lives.”

That does, in essence, illustrate the general tone of Pay It No Mind and The Death and Life–the tragic nature of her life mirrors the abuses of her larger community.

France employs the tactic of concurrently investigating the death of Johnson while including the narrative of the progress of the 2016 court case of Islan Nettles, a trans woman who was beaten to death in 2013, to illustrate exactly this.

Trans activists such as Mariah Lopez and Victoria Cruz look at Johnson’s story and see their friends, partners, and even themselves.

As of Nov. 2018, 22 trans women of color have been violently murdered in America alone.

Further studies have shown that 55 percent of trans youth have been violently assaulted, 20 percent are homeless, and 41 percent deal with mental illnesses such as depression and suicidal ideation.

Johnson’s story is a reminder that trans women of color especially need to have more support and safe spaces that they have, historically, been excluded from.

Trans Day Of Visibility Pride GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

How Ilana Glazer’s Generator Collective combines storytelling with activism

When Ilana Glazer isn’t desperately trying to navigate life in NYC and get out of the absurd situations she and co-star Abbi Jacobson get caught up in their hit comedy series Broad City, Glazer is a bad-ass activist.

Early this summer, the actress, writer, director, and showrunner combined her passion for storytelling with her activism.

Glazer, along with Ruby Anaya and Glennis Meagher, co-founded The Generator Collective; a social media platform that allows people to submit a 90-second video on how government policy affects their lives.

After having endless conversations on the state of the nation in the wake of the 2016 election, Glazer felt galvanized to use her platform and celebrity status to create a project that she hopes will inspire people to (re)engage in the democratic process.

The Generator Collective attempts to humanize government policy by sharing stories of everyday people in order to elucidate how these policies directly impact and shape their day-to-day lives. Glazer identified how social issues particularly resonate with her when she is exposed to someone’s personal story.

With government policies embedded in legal jargon and media coverage often dry and impersonal, each of the founders wanted to transform the discourse on policy into something more accessible, shareable and with a focus on the quotidian, in order to connect us to our common humanity.

The Generator Collective also seeks to challenge the way we have been socialized to shy away from discussing politics, ideologies, and worldviews, whether these views align or disagree with our own.

Glazer points out the implications that come with normalizing etiquette practices when it’s time to have politicized conversations. In an interview with The Drum, Glazer asserted,

“We don’t even know how to talk to people on different sides, or even from the same one, or same faction within that side.”

In the promotional video for The Generator Collective, Glazer foregrounds the reasoning behind launching the project,

“We really believe that hearing each other not despite our different beliefs, but because of our different beliefs is integral in protecting our democracy.”

The video submissions are posted on The Generator Collective’s website and IG account. They consist of stories from a range of diverse people regarding age, race, gender, sexuality, neighborhood, and jobs.

The guidelines for the video are listed below, with the video submissions simply having to state:

1. Name, age, background and what you do for a living?

2. Where are you from and where you currently live?

3. What do you love and what are you into?

4. What issue made you want to create a video today and how does this issue impact you?

Though Glazer disclosed in an interview with The Drum that she hasn’t been as consistently political active as she is right now, she nonetheless is the first to admit that she is constantly learning and informing herself.

Her social media accounts are both entertaining and didactic.

On her Instagram account, Glazer continually encourages people to register to vote, is a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, and an advocate for DACA rights.

Glazer’s continual engagement with politics is admirable since the celebrity is using her platform to raise consciousness amongst her 1 million followers.

Ilana will be hosting a four-part series event, titled The Generator Series, from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 at the Murmrr Theater in Brooklyn.

The event will feature Glazer, along with other activists and interviews with political analysts and local politicians in the attempt to get people to make their way to the polls on Nov. 6th.

Women are boycotting Twitter in response to Rose McGowan’s account suspension

#WomenBoycottTwitter is trending, as women all over the nation stand together in protest of Rose McGowan having her account suspended after speaking openly about Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood A-Listers.

The Charmed actress shared this picture on her Instagram page:


A post shared by Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) on

The boycott started with Twitter user Kelly Kills coming up with the hashtag to show support of McGowan after the Twitter suspension took place.

Shortly beforehand, McGowan was in the middle of calling out other celebs for being aware of Weinstein’s lewd actions, such as Ben Affleck and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

“‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.” McGowan wrote to Affleck.

In response to the chaos, Twitter claimed she was suspended for posting her phone number.

Really, Twitter? I’m not buying it.

Publications, celebrities, and activists have joined the Twitter ban in response to McGowan.

Alyssa Milano has said she would stand with her Charmed co-star. Celebrities Chrissy Teigen, Anna Paquin, Terry Cruz, John Cusak, Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Chastain, and many more have made their opinions clear on showing McGowan support..

McGowan didn’t hesitate in calling out Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos. She said she had confided in the head of his studio that, “HW raped me.”

The executive, Mr. Price, was put on a “leave of absence” immediately after the accusations came out.

McGowan was also among one of the women that Weinstein reportedly paid to stay silent. After the 1997 Sundance Festival incident, she reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein’s lawyers.

If you stand with #ROSEARMY and are thinking about boycotting Twitter today, I admire you for doing so.

No woman’s voice should be silenced.

Activism in sports is nothing new: Why players need to protest

Colin Kaepernick has led a new wave of athlete activism, starting with his decision to take a knee during the national anthem last preseason. He told reporters after the game about his protest,

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

And while Kaepernick has brought about a new era of sports figures speaking out, athlete protest has been a part of American sports for decades.

In 1967, heavyweight champion of the world Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted into the Vietnam war. He said at the time that he had no beef with the Viet Cong and was fighting his own battles here in America. Ali said,

“I got nothing against no Viet Cong. No Vietnamese ever called me a n*****… Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.”

Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, banned from boxing, and sentenced to 5 years in prison. While he was never sent to prison and fought again in 1970, Ali was ostracized at the time for standing up for what he believed in. Now, Ali is revered as a true hero and a patriot, one of the greatest athletes and activists in the history of our country.

This was the case a year after Ali’s stand against the Vietnam war when Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the gold and bronze respectively in the 200 meter race at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.

Smith and Carlos took the podium and raised their fists in the air, wearing black gloves in what is considered to be the most powerful display of protest at the Olympics ever. The United States Olympic Committee was outraged and sent Smith and Carlos home immediately.

But regardless of the immediate reaction, Smith and Carlos are now considered heroes and have been honored time and time again for their infamous protest.

In the mid-90s, Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the national anthem for political and religious reasons. Abdul-Rauf insisted the oppressive nature of America conflicted with his religious beliefs, saying at the time

“You can’t be for God and for oppression. It’s clear in the Quran, Islam is the only way. I don’t criticize those who stand, so don’t criticize me for sitting.”

Abdul-Raouf was fined and suspended by the NBA for 1 game. Eventually, he reached a deal with the NBA in which he would stand and pray during the national anthem. Abdul-Raouf was traded from the Nuggets to the Kings and started to see his playtime cut short and when his contract was up in 1998, Abdul-Raouf didn’t even get a try out despite being 29 years old.

In the early 2000s, Blue Jays and Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado refused to stand during the playing of God Bless America during the 7th inning of baseball games. The tradition of playing the song started after 9/11 and many found Delgado’s protest disrespectful. But Delgado, like most athletes that protest, had deep-seeded reasons to take a stand (or seat). Delgado was protesting the Iraq war and sitting down during God Bless America was his way of speaking out.

He told the Toronto Star in 2004,

“I think it’s the stupidest war ever. Who are you fighting against? You’re just getting ambushed now. We have more people dead now, after the war, than during the war. You’ve been looking for weapons of mass destruction. Where are they at? You’ve been looking for over a year. Can’t find them. I don’t support that. I don’t support what they do. I think it’s just stupid.”

When asked if he was worried about backlash from his stance, Delgado answered defiantly, “Sometimes, you’ve just got to break the mold. You’ve got to push it a little bit or else you can’t get anything done.” When Delgado signed with the Mets, they released a statement at the time that the team had a policy that every player stand for God Bless America and effectively silenced Delgado’s protest.

Time and time again, athletes that speak out against injustices are silenced or blackballed.

We find ourselves in a similar situation now as athletes are taking a stand to protest the rampant racial inequality in our country. Once again, there are large swaths of our country, including those in the White House, that think player protests are wrong.

Our own president labeled protestors “sons of bitches.”

But there is a new wave of athlete willing to stand up to racial and social injustices. High-profile players like LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony aren’t going to sit idly by and stay on the sidelines while there is so much wrong with our country.

LeBron said earlier this week about using his platform,

“As I have this platform and I have a way to inspire… I will lend my voice, I will lend my passion and my money, I will lend my resources to my youth and my inner city and outside of my inner city to let these kids know that there is hope, there’s greater walks of life, and not one individual, no matter if it’s the president of the United States or if it’s someone in your household, can stop your dreams from becoming reality.”

We are very much in a revolutionary era of athlete protest. And while the reaction from conservatives is pretty much the same as it was in the days of Ali, Smith, and Carlos, we know who is on the right side of history.

NFL players call on Goodell for an activism awareness month in memo

A memo endorsed by a group of NFL players sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Vice President of NFL operations Troy Vincent called for the higher ups at the NFL to support social activism amongst the players.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, recently retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, and Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett are asking for the NFL’s help in their efforts to address issues ranging from police brutality to criminal justice reform to criminalization of poverty.

The memo, obtained by Yahoo Sports, is divided into three parts; a summary of total player activism in the NFL, a tangible call to action calling for the league’s support of social and racial justice, and an appeal for the NFL to make November an official month “of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market.”

A section of the memo reads,

“To be clear, we are asking for your support. We appreciate your acknowledgment on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community. There are a variety of ways for you to get involved. Similar to the model we have in place for players to get involved, there are three tiers of engagement based on your comfort level.”

There are numerous social justice initiatives outlined in the memo and this goes to illustrate the lengths that these players are going to enact change for the better in our country.

These are not just rich athletes protesting the national anthem for publicity, they have researched the issues within the criminal justice system and are working with legal experts to make at-risk communities safer.

So far Goodell and his office have yet to respond to the memo, but it will be fascinating to see how the NFL deals with this request to join the players in their fight for social equality. They have to choose between supporting their players and alienating a large (ignorant and racist) swath of their fanbase. This issue ain’t going away.

Read the memo in full here.