An appeal to Black athletes: Boycott the Olympics until Black Lives Matter!

Bulletin: Since the WWP election campaign released this statement on July 6, police in the Minneapolis area have gunned down Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul. Castile was driving with his woman friend and her young daughter when he was pulled over, allegedly for having a faulty taillight. A cop fired point-blank at least four times at Castile as he reached for his wallet, with the killing’s aftermath shown livestream on Facebook by the woman friend, who recorded it. Millions of people have seen the recording. People immediately acted to protest against the killing starting after midnight on July 7 in front of the governor’s mansion in St. Paul. The brutal execution of Castile makes the following appeal even more urgent:

Call to boycott Olympics

As Workers World Party presidential and vice presidential candidates, Monica Moorehead and Lamont Lilly strongly appeal to you, Black athletes — who are loved, admired and respected by millions of people, especially youth, here and worldwide — to boycott the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. We urge you to take this stand in protest of the escalating war against Black and Brown people by racist police, which continues the long, violent history of slavery and Jim Crow thereafter.

How can one represent one’s country with pride when a large section of the U.S. population is being treated as less than human — when Black and Brown lives are considered expendable by the police, especially if they are young and poor?

We are so damn angry, along with millions of other Black people and people of good conscience, over the recent lynchings of Delron Dempsey, a Black man shot to death on July 4 by a racist off-duty police officer in East New York, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Alton Sterling, while pinned to the ground, captured on video being fatally shot multiple times on July 5 by a racist Baton Rouge, La., police officer. Both Dempsey and Sterling were 37-year-old husbands and fathers, who did not deserve to die.

They are the latest victims on a long list of over 500 people who have been killed thus far in 2016 — an alarmingly disproportionate number being Black and Brown people.  The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and hundreds more since 2014 attest to the dehumanization of Black lives when it comes to the lack of arrests, convictions and sentencing of police who kill with impunity.

Back in the late 1960s, a number of prominent Black athletes, led by the late great heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, National Football League star fullback Jim Brown, National Basketball Association center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others attempted to organize a righteous boycott of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City by Black athletes due to the second-class treatment of Black people.

We appreciate the Black athletes today who have also taken a stand against police brutality by wearing “I can’t breathe” and “Justice for Tamir Rice” T-shirts.  At the University of Missouri, the football team threatened not to play in protest against racism on that campus late last year.

So until Black and Brown lives truly matter, we hope that you, along with athletes of other races, strongly consider not representing the U.S. at the Olympics in August.  This will certainly send a strong message of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been on the front lines of fighting for racial justice and equality.

#NoJusticeNoOlympics  #BoycottOlympics  #AcalltoBlackAthletes #Socialists4BlackLives
Monica Moorehead for President / Lamont Lilly for Vice President
Workers World Party Election Campaign 2016
[email protected] / 917.740.2628 /