The Boston Celtics have launched a $25 million initiative dedicated to combating systemic racism titled the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice.
The Celtics’ organization made a statement on Tuesday, in conjunction with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, announcing their new initiative. Players, coaches, owners and staff are reportedly involved in this 10-year-long commitment to building supportive communities.
Said the Celtics’ small forward, Jaylen Brown, in its statement: “The time is now.”
“Our goal is to have a direct impact now. We don’t need to pacify the situation with empty gestures. We need to hold ourselves, the Celtics organization, and the city of Boston accountable,” Brown said. “Monetary commitment is a great first step, but we need to commit to this process by creating a balance of short and long-term change.”
In the tumultuous aftermath following a Kenosha Police officer’s shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, the Boston Celtics made the decision to not play in their Aug. 27 game against the Toronto Raptors.
Increased incidents of police brutality and the recent high-profile police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor leave the Black community, the most directly impacted people, to also feel like the most unsupported. In their wake, the Celtics have made “a multi-focus commitment to addressing racial injustice and social inequities” impacting Boston’s Blacks.
Their collaborative push for equality is founded on the following six pillars: Equity in Education, Economic Opportunity and Empowerment, Equity in Healthcare, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Breaking Down Barriers and Building Bridges Between Communities and Voting and Civic Engagement.
“These focus areas were identified through extensive discussions with members of the Celtics organization, including players, owners, coaches, and front office staff, as well as a wide variety of leaders in community organizations, government, academia, and social justice,” said the team’s statement.
The $25 million fueling the project, which was raised by the Celtics investor group, in conjunction with the Celtics organization, consists of $20 million in cash and $5 million in media assets.
“Our goal is to do everything we can to achieve progress on each of the targeted pillars, and we will work tirelessly to make real change,” said Steve Pagliuca, the Celtics’ managing partner.
According to NBA reports, this is the beginning of an era where programs and players will continue creating social justice initiatives. Celtics teammates are among those sporting NBA-approved Black Lives Matter-related slogans on their jerseys this season.
Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis wear “Black Lives Matter” outright, while Brown dons “Liberation.” Tacko Fall and Vincent Poirier chose “Egalite,” which means “equality” in French; Enes Kanter and Marcus Smart went with “Freedom.” Gordon Hayward’s seeks “Education Reform,” and Robert Williams has a simultaneous request and demand: “Respect Us.”
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