By Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, M.Ed | AC JosepH Media Guest Blogger
As most of y’all have learned through the media or like we say in Spanish, “Radio Bemba,” former Miami Head Coach, Brian Flores, a Black man of Honduran descent who was raised in Brooklyn, filed a lawsuit against the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos football teams.
He’s going after them for his experienced racial discrimination in hiring. Interesting is the fact that he filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and all participating teams in the league at the beginning of Black History month, 2022.
The fired coach of the Miami Dolphins, coached in a city that is 50% Hispanic, and who was part of the 70% of the NFL league players, did what other Black and Latino sports luminaries have done, they stood up to racism. ‘
Flores stands, alongside sports figures like Tommie Smith and John Carlos, when they raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the United States National Anthem during the medal ceremony in 1968 Olympic games in Mexico.
He is as defiant as Muhammad Ali was when he protested the Vietnam War. He is taking a big risk as Colin Kaepernick has done to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Flores is following the steps of Roberto Clemente, who refused to have food brought to him because restaurants had a policy of not allowing Blacks to dine inside. What is different is that Brian Flores is using the legal system to lodge his discriminatory treatment.
The month of February is significant to me. I was born on February 14th (Valentin’s Day). The shortest month of the year is also known as Loveuary to accent the romance-filled month. Still, most importantly, the country pauses to celebrate: “Black History Month,” events and activities to showcase the talented creativity, social, cultural, political, educational achievements, and socio-economic climb advancement of a small percentage of the Black population.
As a community, a people long denied inclusion and equality in a country that, for the most part, was built on the forced, free slave labor of Black people. Black and Latino people owe a debt of gratitude to those pioneering ancestors who fought back against racism and all its practices.
Brian Flores is giving us a sense of community that is dependent on future generations of people of color. Our youth learn from prominent Black and Latino role models of the past and present.
From the Black people, like the ones we will be celebrating this Black History Month,
It is important to learn what worked and what didn’t work in obtaining justice and equality in a nation where colored minorities are meant to feel under-qualified to carry out the responsibilities that high-level positions require.
Bio: Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas is an award-winning columnist, veteran civil rights activist and former officer with the Gloucester County NAACP. He is the cofounder and retired director of Philadelphia Prison System’s Office of Community Justice and Outreach.
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