Just Don’t Do It

My dad and his family fled Cuba in 1961. Their lives were in immediate danger. They escaped to the United States–a feat many Cubans have staked their lives on for decades, past and present.

The journey was a dangerous one–full of intrigue that could have ended disastrously. But along the way, people stood up for my family–advocated and gave freely. If I don’t do the same for others who are fighting for those same safeties and rights, then I have failed my family and everyone who helped us.

As a country of immigrants, I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

The ideal that this is the land of the free–a place to live without fears of persecution, able to openly state your difference of opinion, work your way up in life–has been a beacon to many across the globe. 

Sadly and far too slowly, many of us have come to realize that that isn’t the case for all people who call the United States home. Black Americans and other people of color don’t have the same advantages white Americans do. 

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” -Emma Lazarus 

What can we do? How do we take a meaningful stand?

Just Don't Do It / for the love of nike / by Jennifer Martinez Conway

Taking a stand means more than showing up at a protest or making a post on social media (or your Nike blog). It means making radical movements in your life.

  • Demand big changes from your government–both federal and local.
  • Change the way you look at housing and school districts. Stop pushing out people who differ from you culturally and economically.
  • Use your purchasing power and let companies know you expect more from them.
  • When making purchases, be thoughtful. Support black owned businesses if you can. 
  • Have hard conversations with your friends, family, and coworkers–especially the ones you don’t see eye to eye with. 

“A survey conducted after Floyd’s killing by Morning Consult LLC, a data analysis firm, found that about two-thirds of Americans from Generation Z, the sought-after cohort of high schoolers and college students, said the way corporations and their brands reacted to the BLM movement would permanently affect their purchasing power.”

-Jordan Holman and Thomas Buckley for Bloomberg Business 

We’re moving into an interesting time when consumers expect a higher moral standard from the companies they patronize. Young people are beginning to realize that they can change the way corporations take steps to right societal wrongs. 

We all know Nike hasn’t had the best track record of ethical behavior, but their recent statement was pretty powerful (which Adidas retweeted in a supportive effort).

At the beginning of quarantine, I painted a few Just Do It signs for fun.
But in the heat of the protests and inspired by the Nike video, I decided to change the statement.

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Just don’t do it. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us.  

Here is a list of a few of the people whose lives were snuffed out by police over the last decade. Please read their stories linked below, especially if you don’t agree with the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Don’t turn your back on our fallen brothers and sisters.

All of the 95 people on this list should still be alive today.

2020 has been one for the history books. No one can deny that.
But it’s up to us how it all shakes out.
Please, listen to black voices

Let’s turn 2020 around.