Support the futures of BAME youth with BLM rashguard.
By Violet Bennett
Following the death of George Floyd whilst in police custody, there has been a surge of protests that continue daily across the world. These aren’t just for Floyd and his mistreatment, they are protesting the deeply entrenched systemic racism that has instigated and prolonged the suffering and mistreatment of BAME individuals for centuries. As a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete, I waited to see what the Jiu Jitsu brands I patronized and even personally represented would contribute. I was also interested to see how high profile athletes would use their platforms.
However, to my perhaps naïve surprise and dismay, the vast majority of brands were silent. That is not to say that silence necessarily indicates complicity; there are many extremely valuable forms of allyship that happen behind the scenes.
However, the silence of those with a significant social media presence on the matters of anti-racism, equality and representation within their own teams and organisations concerned me and many others. Compared to other similar subcultures, such as surfing or skateboarding, the Jiu Jitsu community was relatively quiet.
If you’re part of the Jiu Jitsu community, you have surely enjoyed the break it gives you from your day to day life – the few hours of peace in which all you need to focus on is training. It’s important that we recognise that the space we love most needs to be one that is consistently welcoming to everybody, and it is up to us to continue Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s history of being a martial art that attractspeople from immensely diverse backgrounds. There has been significant backlash against bringing
‘politics’ into Jiu Jitsu, and individuals who have shared anti-racist resources or spoken out have been criticised for doing so. However, Jiu Jitsu doesn’t exist in a politics-vacuum, nor is it a space where we should choose to ignore issues of human rights. With this in mind, I wanted to provide the Jiu Jitsu community with a way to show up for the Black Lives Matter movement whilst also representing the sport they love.
A presale of Black Lives Matter rashguards has been created, with all proceeds being donated to charities that directly support the futures of BAME youth. While designed with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in mind, these rashguards are perfect for any activity that gets you sweaty! Rashguards can be purchased here with all proceeds being donated to Black Lives Matter and The Black Curriculum. Worldwide shipping available.