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Sam Thomas on #StrongerTogether

Feb 15, 2021

Dear Wildcat Family,
Sensitive conversations are the most difficult to have, but the ones that need to be had the most. With everything happening in today's society it is now more important than ever to feel the support of our fans. As athletes we know that in an area, stadium, court, or any playing field we have your support. We hear your support during those times. But we are more than the number on our jersey, or the last name on our backs. We are a part of a community, a culture, a generation, and so much more. Will we have your support in those aspects of our lives?
Only you can answer that question yourself individually. We would hope that the answer is "yes" but actions speak louder than words. I do not want to speak on behalf of all my fellow student-athletes, but I think we can all agree we have some of the best fans in the world. Although we are a big family, there are many faces that we can remember and point out. Hopefully our fans can do the same for us, when we are not in our uniforms but only out in street clothes. With the uncertainty of when/if we will play sports, it's also important that we don't lose sight of the bigger issues such as social injustice.
At the UofA we have a diverse group of athletes who come in from all across the country. We all share the same mission to win games and represent the "A" on chest. However, all good things come to end and soon enough we will be entering the real world and applying for jobs. That is when we no longer are identified as being an athlete, our identity then changes to being the color of our skin. It is a harsh reality that we unfortunately have to face, and whether you admit it or not it's the truth. There can be other factors that help define you, but the main one is going to be the color of your skin because that's what people notice first. It is becoming so common that people are starting to subconsciously discriminate against people of color. How many white people have been pulled over for looking suspicious? I know I have been pulled over; I know some of my black teammates have been pulled over. So, when does it end? When can everyone be treated the same and not see color, but just see people as human beings?
Change can take some time, but we want to know as athletes that we have the support of the Tucson community to help make that change. As most know athletics is one of the biggest ways for people to bond in this world. Cheering for their beloved teams and rooting for the underdogs. Let's take that same mindset and cheer for the same team of equality. If you are a business owner, why not hire a more diverse group of workers? If you work at a local grocery store, why not smile and conversate with every customer? If you are a volunteer, why not volunteer at a black owned non-profit? The best thing you can do during these times is to educate yourself, reaching out to your friends/coworkers of color is a great start. Make a conscious effort to treat everyone the same and help us win this battle of social injustice.
Sam Thomas