It's about my family, I have a son who is black. It's about acknowledging the call for social justice from those who are most affected. It's about making changes that make our communities better places for all of us. As Tony Fuller, a black basketball coach at predominantly white prep school, told a bunch of suburban white kids one practice,
"Change isn't change...until you change"
I'm pretty sure he was talking about more than just basketball.
Well coach, I put that sticker on my bag because I wanted to actually change and not just talk about it. I went from reading about the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to googling, "What can a white guy do about racism." That started an education that led me to engaging in discussions of race with the golf world, the media, and ultimately my community. I quickly learned that there is a lot of unvoiced support for those who are being treated unfairly. Sure there has been some push back by the excuse makers trying to preserve an indefensible status quo, but more than anything there is an appetite for change. Fortunately for those of us who want to contribute in some way there are any number of organizations out there that can help us all do just that.
Social justice is a very wide topic and the area that "activated" my activism is the intersection of Law Enforcement and the Communities they serve. Dedication to Community is focused on building relationships at this crucial meeting place using sport as common ground. Founded by a former law enforcement officer and college football player, Quentin Williams, D2C's programs have been focused on turning "US" and "THEM" into "OUR COMMUNITY" for many years. I think building community trust in law enforcement , and vice versa, is a fundamental building block for race relations. I am joining D2C's sports division to promote and participate in spreading this message of "OURS."
Many people don't think golf and social justice go together but The PGA Tour has been committed to strengthening the communities that we play in for many years. A wide range of charitable donations are made thanks to revenues generated by PGA Tour and Local Tournament Organizations. This attitude of "Giving Back" is a fundamental part of the PGA Tour business model and I am proud to be a part of that. Of equal importance to me is the fact that the PGA Tour not only supports but encourages it's members to pursue their own ways of making a difference in their communities. That has been invaluable to me in the past and they have been very supportive of my recent efforts as well.
I know other sports have taken the lead on social justice issues but I know golf can play a big part as well. The PGA Tour has just announced an expanded commitment to social justice issues and the PGA of America and the USGA have programs dedicated to bringing more diversity to the game at all levels of contact. Ultimately though, relationship solutions start with understanding each other better in one on one environments. Isn't a round of golf the perfect place for cultural and personal exchange? Invite somebody who might see the world a little bit differently than you do to the course. I'm pretty sure you will both learn that your differences are much smaller than your commonality.
If you have gotten this far in my narrative then you understand what makes me tick. Now it's all about you. What interests you on the social justice spectrum? The Intersection law enforcement and community? Equal access to education? More equality in economic opportunity? Healthcare?, Political Representation? The list goes on and on but it's just a list until you decide to do something. You can effect positive change, but like coach said,
"Change isn't change, until YOU change"