US tennis sensation Coco Gauff has urged people to speak out on the issue of racial injustice as she promised to continue using her platform to fight for change.
The 16-year-old addressed a peaceful demonstration in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida, amid widespread protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
The American is currently too young to vote but she urged others to do so to secure a better future and encouraged them to take action in order to find a solution.
“I think it’s sad that I’m here protesting the same thing that (my grandmother) did 50-plus years ago,” Gauff said in the video posted on her official Twitter page.
“So I’m here to tell you guys that we must first love each other no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with my friends.
“I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement.”
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Gauff is one of the brightest young players on the tennis tour and sprung into the limelight after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2019.
She’s since been committed to using the attention to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter campaign, inspired by her maternal grandmother Yvonne Lee Odom who integrated a local high school in 1961 during a time of segregation.
The youngster recently replied to Roger Federer’s post on social media with a detailed list of how people could support the cause after the 20-time grand slam champion posted a black square in support of the protests.
She also joined fellow players such as Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in the “Racquets Down, Hands Up” campaign, started by US tennis star Frances Tiafoe and his girlfriend.
“This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor. This is about stuff that’s been happening,” she said to the peaceful demonstrators.
“I was 8 years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change?
“It breaks my heart because I’m fighting for the future of my brothers. I’m fighting for the future of my future kids. I’m fighting for the future of my future grandchildren.”
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‘This is your fight too’
Gauff went on to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., calling on everyone to speak up and use whatever platform they have.
“I saw a Dr. King quote that said, ‘The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.’ So, you need to not be silent,” she added.
“If you are choosing silence, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor.”
“If you listen to black music, if you like black culture, if you have black friends, then this is your fight too. I demand change now.”