Unity Makes Strength…
The more and more I watch the news, scroll through social media, and engage in conversations about the current state of the world and the things that are happening specifically to Black men and women in America, I find myself dealing with a myriad of emotions, but I also find myself reflecting on my life.
When I sit and think about all of the challenges and adversities that I have overcome, along with all of the success that I have been able to achieve, I can’t help but to think about Haiti and how my humble beginnings helped shape the man I am today.
Sure, I reached the pinnacle of my career as an elite professional athlete, currently fighting to get on the field to keep playing the game I love, but I can’t help but to think about the days in Haiti before my family moved to the United States. The days when I didn’t know English and my Haitian Creole language was good enough. When I didn’t know about Medgar, Martin, Malcolm, Rosa and the Civil Rights Movement of 1964. When I didn’t know about racism, classism, colorism and the effects of the “isms” on my then nine-year-old self and frankly, all of the people that look like me – then and now. When I didn’t know that one word and all of its ugliness could cause so much hurt and pain while yielding prejudice and systemic oppression against people that were not white. When I didn’t have to experience discrimination, police brutality and social injustice. And when I didn’t have to consider a world where my sons would possibly have to endure all those “isms” too.
Now, I sit and think about one of the core values of my life that Haiti taught me… UNITY.
I think about how I can use my platform to continue to promote coming together in a time where Black men and women are fighting to live, fighting to be free, and fighting to be treated fairly and equally.
I think about the impact I can have by using my voice to amplify the voices of others like me who are not afraid to stand strong on principle and speak out against things that create an intentional divide; whether it exists in the workforce, in the educational system, in the justice system, in the social and political landscape or in every day interactions.
I think about who I am and the difference I will continue to make.
Mwen rele Junior Jovais Galette.