NBA icon Michael Jordan has issued a statement following the recent shootings of black men and police violence. The former basketball player is known for keeping a low profile when it comes to the tension between the African-American community and police, but has recently started to speak out.
The statement, issued via The Undefeated, begins, "As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well." Jordan continued by adding that solutions need to be found to all the tension and violence, then reveals, "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."
Terrence Cunningham, the IACP president and chief of the Wellesley, Massachusetts, police department, told The Undefeated, "What an opportunity for Michael Jordan to do this and help raise the discussion between police and the members of the communities they serve. The IACP aims to provide a toolbox for departments and communities to come together to discuss implicit bias and police legitimacy, and this is an opportunity to help that along."
"The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow," said Jordan, "but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.