By Neto Baptiste
National high-jumper and Pan American Games silver medallist, Priscilla Loomis (formerly Frederick), is the second US-based athlete to show public support for the Black Lives Metter movement and for ongoing protest across the USA and other countries over death of African American George Floyd while in police custody.
Speaking exclusively to Observer media, Loomis said the issue hits home for her and that she has been using her social media platform in an effort to educate her friends on the issues faced by blacks and other races in the US.
“For me, it is very important because I am in an inter-racial marriage and my coach is also white and so I want to make sure that there is that equality throughout everything that I am putting out there. Fear is the path to the dark side; fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering, and so I am trying not to harbour hatred in my heart. I am trying to educate those who want to do good by the African American people and so I am trying to do my part as much as possible, using my small social media platform,” she said.
Earlier this week, national sprinter Cejhae Greene, who is also based in the US, publicly supported the protestors, stating that people must stand up for what they believe.
Loomis, who said she is still not able to train fully due to some restrictions, describes Floyd’s death as horrific, adding that no one should die in the manner he did.
“Seeing what has been happening in the world, especially in the US, is something that is very troubling. I had to stay off social media for a little bit and just take some time and to really focus on what the movement’s main point is, and for me, I wanted to make sure that I use my social media platform for education and communication,” the athlete said.
“What happened to George Floyd was horrific and to now know that the protests are happening and they are getting pushback is very disheartening because Black Lives Matter is very important,” she added.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who held Floyd down, recently had his third-degree murder charge upgraded to second-degree murder and also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge.
The three other officers present when Floyd was killed face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four have been fired from the Minneapolis police force.