Speak UP & Speak OUT

Following the black out Tuesday on social media the energy of Instagram began to shift as people began to tell their stories and voice experiences from being apart of the minority community. While scrolling I came across a good friend of mines post about his experience being black in America, but before we dive into the topic at hand let’s get into his amazing career and platform he has built for himself.

Besides being one of the most genuine and biggest jokesters I know.. Richie Laryea is a Canadian soccer player who currently plays as a midfielder or defender for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer and the Canada national team. Prior to going back to represent his home country he spent his college years at Akron University and his first couple of seasons in the MLS playing for Orlando City.

Seeing Richie use his platform to speak up on the Black Lives Matter movement and share his own story as well struck a chord within me. To read his experience and how is own mom was worried and concerned for him while living here in the States brought tears to my eyes. We have a great athlete, who has brought joy and excitement to the college of Akron and Orlando City (MLS) getting racially profiled and feeling uncomfortable in the very areas he continuelessly gives his all and shines his light!

People would come up to him and ask for pictures and autographs. We would walk into restaurants and he would be greeted with smiles and love almost immediately. Does this sound like someone to be threated by? I can tell you first hand that his energy is unmatched and honestly sometimes I feel he should just keep it for himself, but thats not the person he is and I don’t feel he ever will be the type. His heart is huge.

I am excited and honored that he has allowed me to share his post from Instagram on here. Thank you for being the first person apart of the new series Speak UP & Speak OUT . You are making a change and helping to open the minds of many others!

I’m not usually one to step out and express or voice my opinion, but from all the recent events happening around us I’ve personally had enough.
Being born and raised in Canada was a blessing with all the diversity I was exposed to from an early age. Having lived in the United States for six years and seeing how beautiful of a country it is, I also saw a very ugly side of it. A side so ugly my mother would call me every single night to make sure I was home and not out and about putting myself in danger. A side so ugly my mother was living in fear of having her son living in a country where black people were not seen as equals to others. This weighed heavily on me and left me on edge every day.

How is it possible that in 2020 we are still dealing with so much hate and disparity towards black people? I clearly don’t have the answers, but I’ve been looking and searching tirelessly trying to find them.
I play and fight with guys from different races, nationalities and religions, and not once have I felt the need to single someone out for these differences. Yet black people are dealing with this constant fight day in day out.

We as black people have to try so hard on a daily basis to not come across as “threatening” in any way. I am guilty of this: doing everything in my power to lessen the color and value of my skin so that others around me can feel comfortable, making myself uncomfortable in the process.
We are tired of walking around stores and being followed.
We are tired of having to cross streets so that people aren’t uncomfortable passing us.

We are tired of having to act a certain way to please people.
We are tired of being singled out and stopped by police officers.

I am by no means supporting the violence or looting going on right now, nor am I saying every white person is racist, because they aren’t. I know that every police officer isn’t racist either, but not all black people are criminals.

In light of these recent events I believe it’s time we all stand together and fight against racial prejudice and continue to educate, learn and have these conversations to bring about the necessary change within this world.


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