Venus WIlliams: ‘Racism is not only a black issue’

The tennis superstar is using her voice to address systemic racism and inequality in the United States.

Venus Williams hosts an immersive experience presented by American Express Travel at the Greenwich Hotel, in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for American Express)

Venus Williams is raising her voice in the fight against racism and making sure people know how she feels about the ongoing unrest. The icon posted a heartfelt message on Instagram that highlights how racism persists not only in the criminal justice system, but across so many other critical areas of society.

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“I am deeply saddened that it has taken multiple acts of police brutality to make people painfully aware of the racism that still pervades America,” she started the lengthy post.

“This just scratches the surface of the hideous face of racism in America.
Take a moment to imagine this:
If police brutality can exist and be tolerated so many years at this scale, imagine the other insidious acts of racism that permeate our country:
In the workplace.
In the justice system.
In the healthcare system.
In the education system.”

She went on to address how speaking out against racism was “unpopular” and “shunned” in the past,” and how today’s advocacy among non-Black allies has left her stunned and overcome with emotion.

Billie Jean King Venus Williams Serena Williams

FILE – In this March 2, 2009, file photo, Billie Jean King is flanked by Venus, left, and Serena Williams after Serena defeated Venus in the championship match of the Billie Jean King Cup tennis exhibition, at Madison Square Garden in New York.  (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)

“Speaking up about racism in the past was unpopular. It was shunned. No one believed you. Until you have walked in these shoes, as an African American, it is impossible to understand the challenges you face in the country, in this world,” she continued. “What it is like to be unheard, thought of foolish, silly or reckless to believe that racism still exists at every level. This is no longer falling on deaf ears. I’m amazed at the solidarity that has erupted across the USA.  It has brought me to tears.”

“In the past, I had the honor of fighting for equal prize money for all women’s players at the grand slams in tennis. To make this even more simple to understand, just as sexism is not only a ‘women’s issue,’ racism is not only a ‘black issue,'” she concluded. “When we fought for and won equal prize money, everyone pitched in, men and women, all colors all races. And we won. When the majority groups stay quiet, when they sit in the chair of disbelief, they unwittingly condone the oppression of marginalized groups. Those with power and privilege actually have an easier time getting heard. They must CONTINUALLY exercise that privilege!”

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