Michael Jordan Donates $1M to the NAACP & Institute for Community Police Relations
Michael Jordan, in a post for the web site The Undefeated, has announced that he is donating $1 million each to two organizations: the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly new Institute for Community-Police Relations and to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
For years, Michael Jordan has taken criticism from those who’d wished one of the most famous, visible, wealthy and powerful athletes in the world would use his considerable public profile and influence to speak out on social issues affecting the African American community. For years, the six-time NBA champion and basketball legend’s legacy of on-court success has been counterbalanced by four non-quoted words “Republicans buy sneakers, too” often used to call Jordan onto the carpet for failing “to embrace the leverage he possessed as the nation’s most iconic athlete across the 1990s.”
Well, now, the Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner has chosen to speak.
In an essay for The Undefeated published Monday, the 53-year-old Jordan makes his voice heard in the wake of the recent unrest in the country following the police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., the police killing of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., the killing of five police officers by a lone gunman at an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, the police shooting of North Miami behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey as he lay on his back with his hands thrust in the air trying to coax an autistic patient back into a mental health center, and all the protests and demonstrations that have followed.
With persistent issues of racism, violence against African Americans, police brutality and gun violence coming to the forefront for many NBA and WNBA players of late, Jordan decided that, “as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man […] deeply troubled” by the deaths on both sides of the divide, the time was now for him to speak, and to act:
“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers — who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all — are respected and supported.
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.
“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.”
Jordan’s Monday statement comes four days after the NBA announced it was pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte in opposition to House Bill 2, a law passed in March by North Carolina legislators and signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory that reversed a Charlotte city ordinance expanding rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Jordan, who had previously said that he and the Hornets organization were “opposed to discrimination in any form,” had made the decision to issue his statement and make his donations “about two weeks ago,” but decided to delay them after learning the league would be relocating the All-Star Game because he “did not want his announcement to take away from the focus on the LGBT community,” a spokesperson told The Undefeated: Jordan’s commitment to diversity, his spokeswoman said, has been long established. “But he’s always been very private and personal about many of these things.” Source