Braden Holtby tweeted for the first time in over three years to share a personal opinion about the current state of America.
In his note, Holtby, disgusted by the police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd, discussed the “injustice and hatred infused power” that allows the “inhumane, hate based, racial crimes” that still happen in 2020. Holtby also denounced the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which is “named after a racist president” and “an outspoken white supremacist.”
Holtby, who is aware of his white privilege, promises “to walk beside and listen to every word of anguish and give my strength to every black man, woman, or child until their shoes weigh the same as mine.” The Vezina Trophy winner also directly challenges President Trump and his Make America Great Again slogan by ending his writeup with “America will never be great until all BLACK lives matter.” Holtby did not join his teammates at the White House during their Stanley Cup celebration in 2019.
— Braden Holtby (@Holts170) June 3, 2020
Holtby’s full note reads:
I stare at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, spanning across the Potomac River. From Virginia it leads into Maryland, into Prince George’s County. One of the most affluent Black counties in America. And here a monstrous bridge stands, named after a racist president. A president who was an outspoken white supremacist. Who segregated federal workers based on race. The bridge sits there mocking every black person who has to travel across it while reading that name as a reminder of how much pain has been inflicted on their race. And yet, the society that has inflicted that pain seems proud of it. Proud enough to name a bridge in a white supremacists honor.
The injustice and hatred infused power we’ve seen recently is anything but new. To say there have been improvements is very naive. In today’s age of information and communication at our fingertips the change is far too minimal. The amount of inhumane, hate based, racial crimes that have been committed in the centuries of American history is enough to make your skin crawl in discomfort and your eyes well with tears. Yet it’s still happening. In 2020. It should never happen. Yet it still is.
So now what? Where do we go from here? As a person who definitely falls into the white privileged category, I know I will never truly know what it’s like to walk in a black man’s shoes. But I know that I have arms, and ears, and a voice to walk beside and listen to every word of anguish and give my strength to every black man, woman, or child until their shoes weigh the same as mine.
For everyone standing up and marching for what is right, your voices are not going unheard. You’re bringing pride to every person who believes in the universal value of a human being. Keep fighting, and I vow to demonstrate and educate what you are fighting for. Not only to myself but my children, family and anyone else who will listen. Because America will never be great until all BLACK lives matter.
Braden’s writeup follows a message his wife Brandi published on Tuesday which was signed by both of the Holtbys.
“We are here for you,” they wrote. “We are listening to you. We are angry & we are upset. We are fighting alongside you. We are appalled by the action of those officers & the inaction of so many others. We commit ourselves to do more than post. To stand up & use our privilege & our platform.”
The Holtbys have a history of activism uncommonly seen among hockey players. Braden Holtby has been the Capitals “Hockey is for Everyone” ambassador since the initiative started in 2017. In 2018, he was a guest speaker at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala. In 2019, he was one of three Capitals players who declined the presidential invitation to the White House. Both Holtbys have marched in multiple DC Pride Parades once, even flying back to DC after playoffs in order to attend.
Holtby’s personal note comes after teammates Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, and John Carlson denounced racism and police brutality towards black people. Several Capitals players also participated in Blackout Tuesday, a symbolic show of support to Black Lives Matter.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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