2020 : Stand Up, Speak Up

Jul 12, 2023, 6:48:02 PM

Coco Gauff speaks up for Black Lives Matter

She came without any notes that day. Cori Gauff, aka ‘Coco’, usually steps up on sports podiums rather than political stages. But on 3 June 2020, the new WTA sensation did speak at the Delray Beach town hall (Florida). Two weeks before, on 25 May 2020, George Floyd, an Afro-American young man, was killed by the police after he was arrested in Minneapolis. It raised a huge wave of protests across the country. While thousands of Americans took the streets to protest police violence against the Black community, 16-year-old Gauff proved that her convictions and her rhetorical skills were in inverse proportion to her young age. “I saw Dr [Martin Luther] King’s quote that said: ‘The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.’ You need to not be silent, because if you are choosing silence, you are choosing the side of the oppressor. […] If you listen to Black music, if you like Black culture, if you have Black friends, then this is your fight too! […] I demand change now. […] I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information, spread awareness and fight racism.” Gauff stuck to her promise. On 2 June 2022, after she beat Italian player Martina Trevisan in the French Open on Court Philippe Chatrier and reached her first Grand Slam final, she wrote ‘Peace. End gun violence’ on a camera. She was referring to the Uvalde shooting that happened a week before; 21 people –including 19 children– were killed. Gauff said in the press conference: “I had some friends who were a part of the Parkland shooting in February 2018. I just think it’s crazy. Nothing has changed. I think we need gun reform.” And she was just 18.