Protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody have caused an uprising around the world against police brutality and racism. In a virtual roundtable, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said that he is encouraged by the progress the protests have made.
“This is a great time to be alive,” Curry said during a virtual discussion entitled “The Dream Marches On,” hosted by the University of San Francisco. “I’m excited to see what this next generation does as they venture out on their own. The people I got to walk with at a protest, young men and women of all ages, people are meeting the moment.”
Curry's comments came during the University of San Francisco's Silk Speaker Series alongside Dr. Clarence Jones, director of USF’s Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice. During the hourlong call, Curry and Jones -- a former lawyer and speechwriter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- discussed race in America and the recent protests in the wake of Floyd's death.
While Curry has been outspoken on racism and systematic oppression in the past, he has increasingly been lending his voice to those causes over the last month. Floyd -- a 46-year-old African American man -- died after fired police officer Derek Chauvin -- a white man -- pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded, "I can't breathe." Floyd was detained after a store owner alleged he used a counterfeit $20 bill. Police also initially alleged he resisted arrest, but nearby surveillance footage disputed those claims.
Earlier this month, Curry joined teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson at a protest in Oakland. Days later, he took his daughter Riley to a protest in Palo Alto in hopes of raising her awareness for the cause.
“She knew who George Floyd was, she started asking questions as people were giving speeches, she continued to ask questions about why are we here, what does this mean, what are we trying to accomplish,” Curry said. “Trying to break that down to a 7-year-old, you hope she can be part of the change that needs to happen.”
Curry and Jones, 89, also explained the difference in how they were affected by racism during their respective upbringings. Jones, a child of domestic servants, described an instance when he was chased by whites after trying to get candy in 1931. As a speechwriter for Dr. King, he was on the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Curry, by contrast, says he grew up shielded by blatant racism while being raised by former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry.
“I was surrounded by (racism) but I didn’t experience it as much because my dad was playing in the NBA and there was the certain benefit that came with that in terms of how people interacted with us,” Curry said. “Sports took us to a place where they could put it aside for a second and treat my dad and my family with a level of respect you could feel, but you never knew what was going to happen as soon as your back was turned."
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Since Floyd's killing, protests have sprouted around the globe, including Germany and Australia. Several businesses, including the Golden State Warriors, issued statements condemning racism in the United States. But while progress is being made, Curry knows there's more work to be done.
“It’s not going to be an overnight thing where you can just rectify 400 years of injustices,” Curry said. “I’m trying to create a program, a platform of questions I’m asking every single person I do business with, that I have personal relationships with, that will hopefully inspire them to carry that torch and do it in their own circles and we can have a wildfire spread like that.”
[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]