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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