Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum discusses police reform, education in exclusive sit down with Kamala Harris

Trail Blazers

When CJ McCollum isn’t on the court with the Portland Trail Blazers, working with high school youth through his journalism-based mentorship program, or dipping into his entrepreneurial efforts by launching his own wine label, the Trail Blazers guard is focused on creating real, sustainable change in the world.

With the presidential election less than a month away, McCollum is using his platform as an NBA player to help voters be educated on the key issues surrounding this election.

That’s why McCollum’s first episode of his new show “ReMaking America,” featured one of the most prominent political figures in the world: Democratic vice presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris.

Socially distanced at six feet apart in an airplane hangar, McCollum, a journalism graduate from Lehigh University, was joined by Harris as well as NBA stars Tobias Harris and Donovan Mitchell to discuss some of the most critical issues impacting the country today, including police reform.

Harris shed light on the systemic racism that has been going on in our country for decades, but also how the recent tragedies to the Black community have driven a need for changes in policing.

“There are so many Breonnas and George Floyds, we all know that,” Harris said. “The thing that has made this issue much more in the public sphere is smartphones. So now people are seeing what we’ve been knowing forever, but maybe didn’t have witnesses. So, having leadership that speaks the truth about it and then what do we do in terms of reforms…

 

There needs to be consequence and accountability.

- Kamala Harris

McCollum, who wore the words “Education Reform” on the back of his jersey while inside the NBA bubble, stressed the importance of finding new ways to push education.

“I think one of the reasons why we’re here is to have those types of conversations to drive education to the masses because a lot of times, people don’t feel like they can create change,” McCollum said.

Harris said one of the ways the Biden campaign hopes to enhance education, especially in low income communities, is by tripling Title I money to pay for teacher salary increases, and student support.

“We need to address undiagnosed and untreated trauma—poverty is trauma-inducing,” Harris said. “If you’ve not addressed the trauma, that child cannot go to school the next day and take full capacity of what is there. That’s why I say that it’s really important to include in our push for more funding for public education, that piece of it that’s about counselors in schools, and all the support so that your mother can teach, and other people can help the child.”

Watch the full episode of “ReMaking America,” with Kamala Harris on PlayersTV to find out the impactful ways you can drive change in your community.

For McCollum, it’s his moral duty to create the change he wants to see in the world through voting. He urges others to exercise their right to vote this election as well.

“As African American men, we feel like we have a responsibility,” McCollum said. “I just want to encourage people to continue to go out and vote. I think that’s big...

The election is coming soon, and we have a chance to drive and make real change.

- CJ McCollum