Serena Williams speaks out against police killings, says 'silence is betrayal'
The 35-year-old reflected on the recent deaths of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement.
New Delhi: Hours after the issue of racial crime dominated the United States presidential debate, tennis champion Serena Williams vowed that she would not be "silent" on issues of social injustice. In a Facebook post, the 22-time Grand Slam singles champion said, quoting Martin Luther King, " There comes a time when silence is betrayal".
In the said post, the 35-year-old reflected on the recent deaths of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement.
In the post, Serena said that she felt moved to speak out after being unnerved at the sight of a police officer while being driven by her 18-year-old nephew.
"Today I asked my 18 year old nephew (to be clear he`s black) to drive me to my meetings so I can work on my phone," the former world number-one wrote.
"In the distance I saw cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if he was obliging by the speed limit.
"Than I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds.
"I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He`s so innocent. So were all `the others`," Williams added.
On Tuesday morning, US presidential candidates deliberated on the issue of racial crimes which have plagued the country.
During the first of the three debates, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton said fixing race relations comes down to two things – restoring trust between police and communities of color and reforming gun laws. She said gun violence is the leading cause of death among young African-American men.
For Republican candidate Donald Tump, it was more about "law and order". He said that if you walk down the streets in places like Chicago, "you get shot." He also went on to cite the controversial "stop-and-frisk" policing tactic as a way to bring down crime. "Right now our police are afraid of doing anything," he said.
The United States has been gripped by a spike in racial tensions in the past week after the latest killings of black men by police.
The deaths, in Oklahoma and North Carolina, were the latest in a series of incidents over the past two years that have brought issues of police brutality and racism to the forefront of national debate.
Williams said her reaction had left her determined to speak out.
"Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? But I realized we must stride on -- for it`s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go," she wrote.
"I than wondered than have I spoken up? I had to take a look at me. What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters? As Dr. Martin Luther King said `There comes a time when silence is betrayal`. I won`t be silent."