At Kids in the Game, we are grateful to be a part of an organization that values the unique voices and contributions of our staff, families, and kids. We believe in the collective power we have as a community to use our actions and voices to create a better world. During the month of February, we took the opportunity to highlight Black voices and achievements, and celebrate Black culture in our community. Check out this piece ‘Why We Celebrate Black History Month,’ written by our very own Coach Akeem!
As we celebrate the success and aspirations of Black Americans in this short month of February, we are still trying to fight the racial oppression that Black Americans face in this country.
A large problem in Black communities is police brutality and the treatment of Black Americans by law officials. It’s important that now more than ever, we as a nation need to improve on the treatment of Black Americans, as even I do not feel safe around authority figures that are supposed to serve and protect. From there, we see the mantra of Black Lives Matter.
In recent years we have seen public figures, companies, and organizations come out to support the Black Lives Matter movement to fight against and ultimately eliminate the racial discrimination of Black Americans and police brutality. We have even seen this in the national sports spotlight with contributions from the NBA and WNBA.
Some NBA players took leadership to publicize this matter during the end of the 2020 season while they were in the ‘Bubble’ at the Orlando facility. Players openly talked about their opinions on the unlawful killing of Breanna Taylor, Jacob Blake, George Floyd, and others that included police officials. In addition to this the National Basketball Players Association agreed to have players wear social justice messages on their jerseys and even have Black Lives Matter printed on the court. After the death of Jacob Blake, some teams refused to play in protest. The walkout by the Milwaukee Bucks before a playoff game in August to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake set off a chain reaction among pro sports.
WNBA players took their protest to another level by leading demonstrations and refusing to play without the support of the league. These protests included teams wearing shirts that spelled out Jacob Blake, and instead of wearing league approved attire, they wore Black Lives Matter shirts during warm-up, which ultimately cost them a fine from the league. They held back nothing on how they felt about these events, and some would say the WNBA had a clearer impact than the NBA for the sacrifices they made for the cause.
Here at Kids In The Game, for Black History Month, I would like to continue to publicize Black Lives Matter by educating our kids and program participants on certain Civil Rights Leaders and Black Americans that either helped the progress of freedom and social justice for Black Americans or contributed to the American life we live and know today.
I understand that children are more exposed to popular media that can exploit Black culture in negative stereotypes. I want the next generation to learn that the color of their skin does not dictate who you are or who you become. This work doesn’t stop when February ends. Let’s use Black History Month as a tool to learn about the past and seek solutions to overcome racial inequality for the future.
Written by Akeem Morgan
Coach Akeem (left) was born in Brooklyn, New York. He started working with Kids in the Game as a Camp Counselor at our Inwood location in 2016. Since then, he’s worked as a Sports Specialist, Esports Coordinator, and worked in several schools around the city. In all the programs Coach Akeem has worked, he has brought energy, commitment, and experience to his coaching. He is a valued member of our team, and in 2020 was awarded the Kids in the Game Sports Programs Coach of the Year.