The Tampa Bay Rays have announced the organization will commit $100,000 per year to supporting causes in the fight against systemic racism.
At this time, the organizations that will receive these funds have not been identified. According to the Rays, they will be named in the coming “days and weeks,” and Tampa Bay’s financial commitment comes with a pledge to do its “best to amplify their vital messages.”
“Words are not enough and have never been enough,” the Rays’ statement read. “We need continued action and a re-education of our culture. We are committing $100,000 per year to supporting causes in the fight against systemic racism.”
Tampa Bay’s commitment comes as protests against racial injustice and police brutality continue across the United States, sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died last Monday night in police custody. The incident, which was captured on video, showed Floyd pinned to the ground with his hands cuffed as Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes. Three other officers could be seen standing near the scene. In the video, Floyd can be heard saying that he couldn’t breathe, and later paramedics are seen lifting an apparently non-responsive Floyd onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.
An independent autopsy has since found that Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. After the graphic video circulated widely on social media, the four officers involved in the incident were fired and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.
“Our country is mourning the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others who have perished unnecessarily,” the Rays said in their statement. “The evils of systemic and institutionalized racism continue to plague our nation. We know that, all too often, these cases are dismissed or excused without justice being served.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician, died on March 13. Louisville police, executing a search warrant, used a battering ram to crash into her apartment and after a brief confrontation, fired several shots, striking her at least eight times.
Arbery, a 25-year-old African-American man, was chased by armed white residents of a South Georgia neighbourhood and killed. His assailants were arrested months later.
“Black Lives Matter,” the Rays wrote. “Police brutality is inhumane. We fully support the protesters exercising their civil rights. We stand with black families living in fear. Our country demands better than this for its people. We can’t breathe.”