Michael Jordan announces first donations to address ‘long history of oppression against Black Americans’

Michael Jordan said Wednesday he was “all in” when it comes to giving back to the Black community.

Jordan and Jordan Brand announced the partners who will be receiving funding as part of the company’s commitment to give $100 million over the next 10 years to the Black community. Jordan Brand gave $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement and $500,000 to Black Votes Matter.

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“I’m all in with Jordan Brand, the Jordan family and our partners, who share a commitment to address the historical inequality that continues to plague Black communities in the U.S.,” the NBA legend said in a statement. “There is a long history of oppression against Black Americans that holds us back from full participation in American society. We understand that one of the main ways we can change systemic racism is at the polls. We know it will take time for us to create the change we want to see, but we are working quickly to take action for the Black community’s voice to be heard.”

Jordan was notably quiet on social justice issues during his playing days but his voice appeared to grow louder in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd.

Jordan announced the $100 million commitment in June and later told the Charlotte Observer that now was the time to make a change.

“We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles,” he told the newspaper. “We’ve got to understand at an early age (that can’t be tolerated). Education is such an important part of societal change.”

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He added: “We have been beaten down (as African Americans) for so many years. It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race.”

Jordan was also asked what has to happen for people to change their racist behaviors.

“Face up to your demons. Extend a hand. Understand the inequalities. Sure, it’s about bargaining for better policing, but it’s more. We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles,” he told the Charlotte Observer.

In the days after Floyd’s death, Jordan supported the call for an end to systematic racism.

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“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” he said. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”