To commemorate Juneteenth, Whitecaps FC players wore Unity jerseys with 'Freedom' crested in different languages. These one-of-a-kind jerseys are now up for auction, with proceeds being donated to Hogan's Alley Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the social, political, economic and cultural well-being of people of Black descent in Vancouver and BC.
Former 'Caps player Christian Dean shares his thoughts below.
I wanted to express my feelings and anger after the George Floyd murder.
So I wrote them down.
But then I deleted all of it, because another Black man was murdered days later.
So I rewrote the entire letter.
But then another Black man was lynched.
I started from scratch again.
Then two Black trans women were murdered.
So I had to f---ing restart again.
This has been an ever-repeating cycle, a repetitive loop.
I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m scared.
How many videos of Black people getting snuffed do we need to see? (Look it up if you don’t know what that means.)
I was born in Alvin, Texas – not far from the Third Ward where George Floyd was from.
Raised in East Palo Alto among a lot of African Americans and Latinos – most people consider it the hood, the ghetto.
Growing up with a Black dad and a White mom and being mixed race myself, it was difficult because you don’t really fit in 100 percent with the Black kids, and you don’t really fit in with the White kids.
My dad from a young age helped me understand that I wasn’t going to have the life that a lot of my friends had. That I was going to have to fight for more things and opportunities than they would. He made me understand that it wasn’t going to be easy and that I was going to have to go through some struggles and there were going to be people that didn’t want me to succeed but I would have to understand that.
It hurts me to see my mom in fear for my safety. She’s the person I care about most in this world, and she’s in fear when she doesn’t hear from me when I go for a run and I don’t come back in an hour and a half. She explained it to me was that being a White person, she understands the biases that White people have against Blacks to begin with. I don’t think she’s afraid that I’m going to get killed by the police or anything like that, just little things - she just wants to make sure that I’m okay especially in this time cause she knows that it’s a hostile time in our country. It’s the little fears that she has because she understands race relations very well.
People still have not learned from this. People just don’t understand the Black Lives Matter movement and somebody has to reply “no, all lives matter.” People are marching to not wear their masks and they get mad at Black people marching for justice?
Black Lives Matter is not just a movement to stop the murders of Black people around the world. It is about being equal, and being able live my life everyday without prejudice.
Educate yourself as much as possible. If you have a Black friend, ask them how they are doing, and educate yourself. If you see something that’s wrong, say something about it. Speak up. Silence is the worst thing to do right now.
If you are White or maybe you do not understand what we as a people go through everyday, I want you to take one thing away from the chaos of the world right now. That feeling of fear that you have experienced these past couple months, it is just a hint of the same fear that I have experienced my entire life.
Christian Dean played for Whitecaps FC from 2014 to 2017. He retired from his professional football career following the 2018 season and is now based in Chicago where he currently works for a marketing and media agency.