George Floyd's Friend Stephen Jackson Says 'Keep the Protests Up, but We Can't Tear Down Our Own Communities'
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson is speaking out about the importance of keeping up the fight for justice for his late friend George Floyd.
On Friday, Jackson appeared on Young Money Radio with Lil Wayne on Apple Music series, during which he spoke to Lil Wayne about growing up with Floyd and how they were not all that different.
"When me and Floyd met, we met in the hood, in Third Ward," Jackson said, referring to an area of Houston, Texas, where the two grew up. "Once we saw each other, the first thing we said was... 'Who your daddy?’ And he said 'Who your daddy?' That's how much we looked alike."
"From then on we was going down the same path," the former NBA player told the rapper. "The only thing that separated me and Georgie was that I had more opportunity," adding that Floyd was a "stand-up guy."
Jackson, 42, went on to explain why calling for justice in Floyd's case is so important, and what he believes is the most effective way to incite change.
"Everybody standing side by side, that’s the only way it’s gonna get done and I stand for that," he said of continuing the protests around the nation. "We gotta hold everyone accountable now."
Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man, was killed on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes while three others stood idly by.
The officer involved, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired and charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers on the scene, also fired, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. None have entered a formal plea.
"This is bigger than me, this is bigger than us. This is for our kids, this is for the ones coming after us," the former athlete added of Floyd's death.
While Jackson supports the ongoing protests, he noted that he does not condone tearing down buildings and businesses in the process.
"We gotta keep the protests up, but we can’t tear down our own communities, that’s hustling backward," he said. "Why would we do all this work, why would we make all this noise to tear up our neighborhoods, get what we want, then we got to go back and rebuild our neighborhoods after we get what we want?"
"In Atlanta, we built that land up as a black home as a black state and we’re tearing it down for no reason," Jackson added.
The athlete has taken to the streets himself in honor of his longtime friend and been at the side of Floyd's 6-year-old daughter Gianna and her mother Roxie Washington.
Jackson also told Lil Wayne that while he didn't ask for this role, he wants to be the one to support other families whose loved ones died due to police brutality.
"Imma step up. If I can ease their pain, if I can bring some attention to their situation, that's what Imma do," he said.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.