Lewis Hamilton Leads 14 Formula 1 Drivers in Taking a Knee Before Austrian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton wore a "Black Lives Matter" shirt while taking a knee before the Austrian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton is taking a stance against racial injustice and police brutality.
On Sunday, the British athlete, 35, was among over a dozen Formula 1 drivers to take a knee ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who is the only Black driver in Formula 1, wore a "Black Lives Matter" shirt, while many of the other drivers — including those that did not kneel — opted for shirts that read, "End Racism."
In a lengthy Instagram post, Hamilton explained how the drivers' decision to kneel "was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change."
"For a more equal and just society," he said. "I may get criticism in the media and elsewhere, but this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion. To me, it was an emotional and poignant chapter in the progress of making F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport."
"I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us," Hamilton said. "There is so much that needs to be done. No one is perfect but if we all chip in and do our part, we can see change. I truly believe that."
The six-time F1 World Champion went on to thank his teammates at the end of his post for their "incredible support" and "hard work this weekend."
"Let’s keep pushing, guys," he added. "See you next week. Love. #EndRacism #BlackLivesMatter."
In March, Hamilton and his Formula 1 team were scheduled to compete in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. However, the event was canceled by Formula 1 after a participating team member tested positive for COVID-19.
Following the announcement, Hamilton called the event's cancellation the “right decision.”
“No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first,” he wrote on his Instagram Story. “The reality is, this is really serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people being affected financially and emotionally.”
Hamilton went on to say that while the decision was “disappointing," he “hopes to be back to racing soon.”
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.