By Jack McDonnell
My name is Jack McDonnell and I am going to be a senior at Sheehan High School in Wallingford this coming fall. I will be entering my second year as captain of the varsity basketball team at Sheehan. I have always believed that all athletes have a platform to speak out in order to try and help send a positive message to society.
All athletes have this platform; whether they are an NBA superstar like Lebron James, or a varsity basketball player like myself. After the tragic murder of George Floyd I decided to write something and send it in to the Record Journal; however, I could not find the right words to express the way I was feeling.
Though politics run in my family, I am not going to push for a political agenda because I feel that would cause people to lose sight of what is really important, which is the Black Lives Matter movement.
The thing I will say about politics is this, change is needed. WE as the people in a democracy, need to be the change we want to see in the world. We need to become the spark that puts an end to systemic racism and social injustice.
It all starts with us and the mindset we chose to have in our everyday lives. From a young age, I was always taught to treat other people with kindness and respect, regardless of their race, religion, or sexuality. If we all begin to show each other more kindness and respect little by little every day, we will be on the right path to ending systemic racism and social injustice.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” We need to continue to lay the bricks that create change every day, and not let up until the necessary changes are made.
Black Lives Matter. And white people, like myself, need to start to listen and hear what Black people have to say. I will never fully be able to empathize and understand the racism and fear Black people have experienced in their lives, but I can be compassionate and try and use my privilege to help make a change.
Change is long overdue, and showing each other respect and kindness is a good place to start. We need to make respect and kindness the foundation of every relationship we have with one another. If we just start with that, and build on it day by day, the change we want to see in the world will be made.
We do not need laws that tell us to be respectful and kind to one another, that comes from each and every single one of us individually. Every change that we want to happen, and that needs to happen, starts with us and the way we treat each other.
If we all just start with the foundations of kindness and respect for each other, and build on that foundation every day, we will soon have a house of unity, love, and compassion that is unbreakable.
The greatness of the United States of America lies in the hands of its people and what we chose to do with the powers bestowed upon us in our democracy, the power to vote and inspire change amongst each other and in government. We all have that power, so let us all use it to ignite change. We must be the change we want to see in our country, and this change starts and ends with us.
Black Lives Matter, and in order for the systemic racism and social injustice that has plagued this country for centuries to end, we all need to treat each other with a little more respect and kindness and change will shortly follow. Thank you all and God bless.
Heading into his senior year at Sheehan High School, Jack McDonnell is also going into his second year as both drum major of the Sheehan Marching Band and captain of the varsity basketball team.