Team USA athletes reflect on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is seen on Martin Luther King Day, January 21, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Every third Monday in January marks a day of service and reflection in honor of the birthday of the late Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King, as many call him, was a prominent civil rights activist. Devoting his life to protesting racial discrimination, he led critical anti-racism change across the United States. King sought to abolish inequality through countless actions and firmly believed that everyone could serve in their community to make the world more equitable.
In his “The Drum Major Instinct” speech, King said, “Anyone can be great…because anyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to to make your subject and your verb agree serve. All you need is a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
As it stands, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. There is no doubt that Dr. King has inspired and will continue to inspire movements of change through his countless actions and words rooted in love, community, fairness and unity.
As we reflect on this day of service, we invite you to read the thoughts of Team USA athletes on this momentous day.
Two-time Olympian and Olympic bronze medalist Crystal Dunn commented on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in a quote posted to Instagram by the United States Women’s National Team.
“Martin Luther King Jr. should be celebrated for his legacy of service. He dedicated his entire life to helping others and led the civil rights movement that challenged systemic racism and economic inequality. We still have a long way to go, but its impact still inspires today’s generation to advocate and keep fighting for change.
Action Tamyra Mariama Mensah
Olympic gold medalist Tamyra Mariama Mensah Stock, has paid tribute to the late Dr King by posting a photo of him with a quote highlighting his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech.
“I dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Today I have a dream.”
Women’s rugby player Naya Tapper has been featured on Team USA social media reflecting King’s legacy.
Speaking of Dr. King’s fearlessness, she said: “Acceptance and fearlessness come to mind when I think of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.. He was all about promoting acceptance regardless of your differences. He was also fearless because he fought for what he believed in, regardless of the consequences. He fought for what was right, which can be very scary at times.
Jayson Tatum, 2020 Olympic gold medalist, expressed his gratitude on his Instagram, posting a photo of him and his son, while wearing a shirt that read “Now is the time to make justice happen for all “. Every MLK day, NBA players participate in games scheduled to honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
His caption read, “His favorite player. My favorite person 🤞🏽. An honor to play this game and live my dream on MLK day 🙏🏽”
Two-time Paralympian and two-time Paralympic gold medalist Brian Bell was also featured on Team USA social media.
Speaking about the power of unity, he said, “We should teach unity as one nation, regardless of ethnicity or skin color. I want to teach and raise my children in an environment that represents equality for all. And not about how they should be afraid or act differently with certain groups of people. We are all so much stronger together than apart. We are all people of one nation.
Over the weekend, Sylvia Hoffman, a member of the 2022 U.S. Olympic bobsled team, spoke about her experience as a black athlete.
Quoting King in her caption, she said: “Every day we have a chance to not only improve, but to show our communities what is possible if you try.
“Martin Luther King said ‘You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream.’ I have dreams and ambitions to be more than a statistic. I aim to be a beacon of hope for all my brothers and sisters from all ethnic backgrounds to reach for the stars. To this day, I continue to see those who doubt me. There will always be those who will support you and those who will find every reason not to.
I am proud of who I am, where I come from and what I have accomplished. In 2018, the United States welcomed 10 black people to the Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang…at the next Winter Games in Beijing, I hope to be one of the athletes selected to help increase this number, in competition and in appearance .