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Gabrielle McCaa

Boston College Volleyball | Age 19 | @gabby.mccaa

I am here to share my experience living in Minneapolis, MN, over these past few months. It has been tough to see my community go through so much pain and anger, but I know we have ignited something worldwide. Minneapolis is a city that I have proudly called home for 19 years. It is a place where a loving family raised me, attended public school, and recently returned to during the stay at home order. On May 25th, 2020, Minnesota went from being a state known for its unforgettable cold winters, 10,000+ lakes, and the stereotypical “MN Nice” behavior. To a state fighting for justice for the lives lost from police brutality, demanding equal human rights for all, and demonstrating the power in unity as its population took to the streets in protests. Unity is something that I wish to see as we continue to have conversations about race as a community.

Change is not something that will happen overnight, but these conversations need to be deliberate, and they need to become an expectation and a priority. We need to work hard to end systemic racism and diminish the prevalent racial divide on campuses. We need to do more, and these actions need to go past a social media post and are more than a simple google search. Through crucial conversations and specific actions, we can build a safe environment through love, support, and activism for black students. So administrators, coaches, and teammates, I encourage you to do more and learn how to be an ally to better support and empower your black peers. Please continue to have tough conversations, challenge each other to be better people, and demand the change that is so needed in our country. 

Over the past few weeks, I have seen people in my Minneapolis community use their voice as a powerful tool to express their feelings of injustice. What is happening in our country is terrible, but being silent will be just as detrimental. Crucial conversations and education about race, inequity, and injustice need to happen. I believe that these conversations and this education should be required for all student-athletes and should happen at the start of each competition season. Talking about race should no longer be a taboo conversation, and I hope we will find a way to keep our communities accountable to this standard. This is just a start, but I have confidence that as student-athletes, we can use our platform in solidarity to stand with the movement for Black Lives. So please, I ask that we challenge ourselves and each other to do better. 

Growing up, playing a predominantly white sport has never been easy, but it has taught me so much. I have had to learn how to embrace my history and my story, despite hateful comments and ignorance. I want to empower young volleyball players and inspire them to be the best version of themselves on and off the court. It is unknown what the future holds, but athletics has an opportunity to have a significant impact. So, I ask that you use your voice, get out, and vote and find ways to support your Black colleagues through activism, actions, and demand justice. I know that this is a hard time, but we need to continue to use your voice, especially once we get on campus; please find ways to get out into your community, educate yourself and hold the people around you accountable.