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My Reality: May 29th in Detroit

(photo from: Dejvion Steward)

Yes, I am a professional European football player, but my reality is I am a black man from Detroit Michigan working every day to find my peace and working to prove my people and I matter here in America.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel over to Europe and live here for half the year and it has without a doubt changed my perspective on life and it also changed my outlook on how I view America. I say this because being here allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I am familiar with traveling and meeting new people, but this was my first trip to Europe and to be living here and establishing relationships with people from a completely divergent culture had a huge impact on me. I learned the world was a lot bigger than just America. Even though my teammates and I all grew up in different environments we had a lot of similar interests that made us not so different. While playing in Europe my outlook on America has changed because I saw how much everyone in Europe thought so highly of America and I would always think it’s not that Great lol. I always felt they (Europeans) were so fortunate to have so much history and so much tradition. They didn’t have as much crime, and certainly didn’t come across racism as much as I do in America.

(photo by: Dejvion Steward)

My home, Detroit, is a city built on hard work and known for being the capitol of the auto industry (Ford, Chrysler, GM). A city where everybody says “Watup Doe”. I love my city, a city full of Go Getters, but at the same time, it is "much better" than the media portrays it. There are so many very stable and prosperous areas with incredible culture and character. To see people working so hard to maintain their homes when so many have fallen on hard times around them. I tell people ‘Detroit is not for everyone,’ and then I describe a few major themes. Its

a land of opportunity: If you are a dreamer or someone who values making an impact on the world, I think Detroit is a place you can make a difference and see and feel the impact you made. It’s a relatively empty slate where creativity and hard work is rewarded. I think it’s more sophisticated than this, but similar to the ‘big fish in a small pond’ anecdote people use.

(photo by: Dejvion Steward)

Protests are starting to begin in all states of America. Not because of the lockdown or coronavirus this time. This is happening as people of all races fight for justice of a Black man in Minneapolis (George Floyd) whose death by white police has sparked widespread protests against police violence and systemic racism. Sadly, this is nothing new for us in this country.

I’ve always been a firm believer that history always repeats itself. This time I’m hoping that’s not the case. I’d like to see a change regarding systematic racism. One of my favorite artist once said

“We gotta make a change

It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes

Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live

And let's change the way we treat each other

You see, the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do

What we gotta do, to survive” - TUPAC

Let me take you back to May 29th, the protest which was in the center of downtown started off as a peaceful protest. With hundreds of people flooded in the streets of Detroit the police tried their best to try and control the situation. As things escalated there were few altercations with protesters and the police but quickly diminished. The protesters marched for more than 6 hours down to the police station where they had a standoff with Detroit Police. I’ve always heard about protest and the riots form 1967 that left a huge scar on the city. I was always intrigued about the idea of hundreds of people gathering together to support a cause. I felt this time in history I had to be on the front lines and be part of this historical moment. I peacefully protested with my peers and caught some amazing images that will last a lifetime to let people see this moment decades from now.

(photo by: Dejvion Steward)

I believe the change will be with me first. I take the steps to show and teach others it’s possible to share love and that we are equal with others who don’t look like you, and I can show that by my actions. Using my voice to tell my neighbors no matter the race how much they matter to the world. Making them feel comfortable and judging them on their heart and spirit not their skin tone. I dream of seeing a country as one human race. You have to change yourself before you can ask anyone else to change. I see these protests around the world today and its showing a sign of solidarity. I am aware not every cop is a bad cop. Not every person is racist. I’ll do my part and stand with the people that fight against these injustice acts. I stand with my people who are fighting for equality and justice.

The day AMERIKA excepts the black race as humans and not just BLACK we will begin to take the steps to a better time. I believe that begins with accepting God into their lives first. Educating people to understand God made us all Equal. I think the most difficult thing is that people see your skin color and all the unnecessary baggage attached to that before they see YOU and start judging you negatively based on color alone. This saddens me. Next, we must teach one another about cultural differences. Embrace the different colors, cultures and many ways of life. I grew up being treated differently due to the color of my skin. I don’t want this for my kids.

(photo by: Dejvion Steward)

The way things are right now isn’t the way they’ll be forever. Its every human’s duty across the planet to fight for a change, to fight for equality for us all. “Rather than be indifferent to the hatred and fear, see if you can love your way through it. Respond with love because that’s what you see is missing.” When you hate something, you chain yourself to it. When you love, you become part of what you love and want to see more of.

I support love not hate.

I support peace not riots.

I support equality not segregation.

I spread the message to Elevate because every day we have one goal and that’s to become a better person we were from yesterday. Take the steps we can do this together!

God Bless




(photo by: Dejvion Steward)

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