Praught-Leer wants per­ma­nent change on po­lice bru­tal­ity

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page - DANIEL WHEELER STAR Writer

Ja­maican long-dis­tance run­ner Aisha Praught- Leer hopes that the re­cent protests in the United States and glob­ally against po­lice bru­tal­ity will lead to per­ma­nent change. Pru­aght-Leer’s com­ments come dur­ing a pe­riod where racial ten­sions have es­ca­lated be­cause of the death of Ge­orge Floyd, an un­armed black man while in the cus­tody of white po­lice of­fi­cers in Min­neapo­lis on May 25. The death sparked protest across Amer­ica and around the world call­ing for se­ri­ous po­lice re­form and the equal treat­ment of black peo­ple. In an in­ter­view with Sports Il­lus­trated on June 10, Praugt- Leer re­called be­ing moved by how di­verse the protests have been dur­ing a re­cent trip to Min­neapo­lis for Floyd’s memo­rial.

“I think what we’re see­ing now is com­pletely fill­ing me with hope. That might not seem like the right thing to say be­cause there has been so much sad­ness and de­struc­tion. You walk into this world that is al­most like a utopian fu­ture of peo­ple who are to­tally dif­fer­ent,” she said. “There were all ages, gen­ders, sexes, colours and creeds to­gether heal­ing, learn­ing and grow­ing. I felt like in that mo­ment, there will be change that comes from this. Hope­fully, this isn’t just an­other head­line that passes with the next news cycle and the next atroc­ity comes up.”

REAL CHANGE

As calls con­tinue to come for po­lice re­forms and other poli­cies to safe­guard black lives, she said that real change will be shown if per­sons ac­tively be a part of the so­lu­tion through var­i­ous means, such as vot­ing and con­tri­bu­tion to foun­da­tions that sup­port back com­mu­ni­ties. She high­lighted the im­por­tance of con­tin­u­ing to stay mo­ti­vated and per­sis­tent.

“My hope for the rest of this move­ment is that it keeps charg­ing for­ward. I hope that peo­ple show up and vote in their city elec­tions, state elec­tions and the na­tional elec­tion. That’s where I’m driv­ing peo­ple, to­wards do­nat­ing to mov­ing for­ward in leg­is­la­tion, pro­tec­tions and foun­da­tions that pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for black peo­ple to have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties that I had grow­ing up and con­tinue to en­joy,” she said.

“That’s the way for­ward.

Ev­ery­one must stay en­gaged. Ev­ery­body will have to vote for the change that they want to see.”

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