Reacting to the protests across United States of America in response to George Floyd’s death, former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said on Tuesday that the activism is a powerful lesson to everyone in the world.
Floyd, an African-American man, had died on May 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after being assaulted by a police officer. He was choked to death as a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit note. The shocking incident has sparked protests in cities across the world and sparked strong reaction from the sporting world.
Sangakkara said, irrespective of where one lives in the world, the “State that should not determine our sensibilities and sensitivities,” in an eight-part message he posted on his Twitter account.
Here is the full text of his message:
The activism in America against systemic racism and injustice is a powerful lesson to us all.
Whichever country we live in, be it America, Sri Lanka or another, it is not the State that should determine our sensibilities and sensitivities.
That’s your choice and mine.
The State should not determine our wisdom, compassion, empathy and understanding. It should not and cannot limit the openness of our hearts and minds to others nor our ability to embrace and value difference and differences.
We, the people choose that ourselves
We also choose our representatives from among our own. We are responsible for the character traits they bring to government. We are responsible for the people they are or have become. Their nature has been set by our influence and nurture.
Our choices guide the State’s attitudes, actions, policy and legislation. In order to establish the best government and the best, most equitable governance, we need to be better people.
Our strengths and our weaknesses are mirrored in each other’s conduct and in the conduct of our elected representatives.
We the people, the ordinary citizen, can together achieve extraordinary change for the better, to set in place a world culture of openness, respect and understanding. A world culture that has no place for ignorance and prejudice and where true freedom reigns.
We have to be courageous, keep the faith and actively participate in the journey.
It’s our choices today that will determine the culture our children inherit tomorrow.
If we want to be proud of our lives, to see our children proud to carry our legacy forward and onwards, then let’s be better. Let’s demand it of ourselves, for each other, for our children.
The incident has triggered an outpouring of condemnation from top athletes including American icons Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods as well as international figures like Lewis Hamilton and footballers in the Bundesliga as well as cricketers from the West Indies.
Also read: From asking ‘am I next?’ to taking a knee, here’s how sportspersons have reacted