As Serena Williams’ Facebook post was going viral on Tuesday, September 28, 2016 an unarmed Black man, Alfred Olango, 30. was shot in El Cajon, California – a suburb of San Diego, making him the 217th person Black person killed by police this year. The tennis superstar was explicit and shared how she fears for the safety of her 18-year-old nephew.
“I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He’s so innocent. So were all ‘the others’,” she writes in part in the post after asking her nephew to drive her to meetings so she could work while riding.
“In the distance I saw [a] cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit. Than I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend,” she wrote, referencing the disturbing shooting of Philando Castile, whose death in Falcon Heights, Minnesota was captured on video by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.
This isn’t Williams’ first time speaking out against unjust police killings and violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a guest editor feature for Wired’s November 2015 issue, Williams wrote:
“I’m a Black woman, and I am in a sport that wasn’t really meant for Black people … So to those of you involved in equality movements like Black Lives Matter, I say this: Keep it up. Don’t let those trolls stop you. We’ve been through so much for so many centuries, and we shall overcome this too. To other people, I say: When someone’s harassing someone else, speak up! J. K. Rowling spoke up for me this summer, and it was an amazing feeling—I thought, well, “I can speak up too.”
Williams continues in her Facebook post, “I am a total believer that not ‘everyone’ is bad It is just the ones that are ignorant, afraid, uneducated, and insensitive that is affecting millions and millions of lives.
“I had to take a look at me. What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters? As Dr. Martin Luther King said ‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal.’ I Won’t Be Silent,” she concludes.