Tennis star Naomi Osaka has used her run to the U.S. Open Tennis finals to attract consideration to police brutality and racism by donning face masks with the names of Black individuals killed in violent interactions with both police or others allegedly motivated by racism and in her finals match Saturday, she unveiled the seventh and final masks title: Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy killed by police in Cleveland in 2014.
Osaka got here ready with seven face masks to put on—one for every spherical of the U.S. Open Tennis, granted she made it to the finals—all emblazoned with the title of a Black sufferer of violence.
She wore masks with the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijiah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice.
The households of a few of the victims Naomi Osaka selected to symbolize together with her face masks have shared their assist for her assertion by way of recorded messages with ESPN—Trayvon Martin’s mom Sybrina Fulton thanked Osaka and instructed her to “proceed to do nicely, proceed to kick butt on the U.S. Open.”
Ahmaud Arbery Sr., Ahmaud Arbery’s father, mentioned: “Naomi, I simply wish to inform you thanks for the assist for my household and God bless you for what you’re doing.”
“It means lots,” Osaka mentioned in response to the movies. “They’re so sturdy. I’m unsure what I might be capable of do if I used to be of their place. I really feel like I’m a vessel at this level to unfold consciousness. It’s not going to boring the ache, however hopefully I may also help with something that they want.”
It’s not Osaka’s first time talking out on social justice points. Final month, she introduced she would skip the Western & Southern U.S. Open Tennis match semifinals to protest the capturing of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin. “Earlier than I’m [an] athlete, I’m a Black girl. And as a Black girl I really feel as if there are a lot extra essential issues at hand that want rapid consideration, quite than watching me play tennis,” Osaka mentioned in a press release. The match agreed to pause play for sooner or later as a logo of standing in opposition to racial inequality, and Osaka performed her semifinal the following day.