For those of you who were unable to make the premiere of Spurs Give’s “Living In My Skin,” you missed an incredible, honest discussion focused on the current state of race relations in America. The panel was populated by prominent San Antonio business men of color.
The panel discussion underlines the art installation featuring paintings of Lionel Sosa and the documentary (which can be streamed for free through KLRN). Though not specifically politically based in nature, there were mentions to the need for changes to laws that have defined racial inequity. Here are some edited responses taken in real time during yesterday’s panel.
Seymour Battle, (Valero Energy Corp), “Always working to shatter stereotypes. It is my opinion that the bar for too long has been set too low...engaging and calling out things that are not right...shifting from inaction to action...that we learn from each other and move forward together...we need to have a platform to have open and honest discussions.”
The San Antonio Spurs have been long helmed by the outspoken Gregg Popovich, but this panel featured all men of color who were involved in an art installation and documentary.
Seymour, “After the death of George Floyd...seeing the social unrest across the nation...across the world...[it created a] genuine conversation that got the project going...for people in the community...have the platform and have the discussion, change opinions one heart at a time...honest conversation is focus the of everything.”
Brandon, “My immediate response was let me tell you what it is like living in my skin...there was genuine interest in how to move forward...after George Floyd laid there lifeless...fractured nature physically and spiritually...there was a level of tone-deafness that was disappointing...you can’t teach someone how to be antiracist...you have to give them a directional path from a resource standpoint...deeper dialogue with broader subjects...the commonality was we were all black...black advancement should not create white outrage.”
A huge focus of the Spurs is to take a look at the various pipelines afforded to people of color and to inspire change.
Sean Elliott, “As a board member of Spurs Give, I know we’ve been committed to breaking the generational cycle of racism.”
Judge William Cruz Shaw admitted that there is a punitive system in place for everybody, but inequity directly impacts young people of color. “When I hear antiracism I think...it’s being active..”
Growing up, Brandon Logan saw two roads for young black men looking at possible careers. “I did not see young black men who had aspirations between athletics and entertainment...I made a decision in high school to disrupt that viscous cycle”
These discussions are not easy. Facing the truth of American history and the results of a battered system of laws is not an easy conversation for many. The Spurs were given a lot of credit for their role in gender and color hirings, taking the best employee, period.
Brian Wright, “we’re going to have to be willing to be uncomfortable...create a level of empathy...to accept each other more and more daily...can’t close your eyes to it.”
When it comes to defining antiracism and antiracist thinking, there are differences in views, but one this is certain, antiracism requires action, not pacifism. Darryl Byrd “it does make me think of racism it’s less about individuals and more about a system...upholds differences between...people of color...structural issues that create massive inequities in health care and housing...we’ve allowed it to become diluted...being antiracist is highly active, it focuses on breaking down laws that are racist and creating laws that focus on equity.”
These are not easy discussions. As parents of a seven-year-old, my wife have been researching how to have these talks in our home, finding books to use proper language and age-appropriate terminology. Hopefully, enough of us are having these in the home so the next generation are that much more comfortable having them publicly, in their schools, and in their circles.
Enjoy the documentary, take a virtual tour of the paintings, and see the panel on Spurs Give’s Facebook page. Get involved, speak out, and don’t hesitate to right the wrongs going forward.
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