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  • What would make me quit my job during the pandemic?

  • The short answer: injustice in America.

  • But since I have a little time, let me give you the long version.

  • In May 2020, protests broke out across the United States.

  • George Floyd, a Minnesota man,

  • was killed by a couple of police officers on camera

  • and hundreds of thousands of Americans had had enough.

  • Like so many others, I watched the protests on the news.

  • I watched as the crowd moved from downtown Atlanta to Buckhead,

  • where I live.

  • The protesters were right outside of my house,

  • so in true millennial fashion,

  • I took out my phone so I could record it and post it to Twitter.

  • After logging the events, I called my parents,

  • and as I was talking to my snook, which is what I call my mom,

  • I began to get a little worried.

  • The energy of the crowd was growing

  • and snook told me, "Don't worry, baby,

  • when people feel that their voices aren't heard,

  • they have to make it felt."

  • Hm.

  • They have to make it felt.

  • That statement hit me hard because, why weren't people being heard?

  • I mean, if we're all watching the same thing,

  • then why aren't we all upset?

  • And how could I help make a difference?

  • No, better yet, how could I make it felt?

  • That was the moment I began to think about opting out ...

  • opting out of a career I dreamed of my entire life.

  • I've been playing in the WNBA since 2009,

  • most recently as a guard for the Atlanta Dream.

  • Basketball has been one of the biggest parts of my life,

  • and yet I decided to give it up,

  • trying to focus on changing the world for the better.

  • I wanted to make it felt.

  • Some people thought I was crazy, but honestly, most people got it,

  • and even though I was filled with fear,

  • I took that leap of faith and did it anyway.

  • I opted out not knowing how I was going to pay my bills.

  • I opted out not knowing

  • if I would ever be a professional WNBA player again.

  • I opted out of my comfort zone,

  • and in doing so, I truly opted in.

  • I gained a completely different perspective

  • and the confidence that comes with turning moments into momentum.

  • The next day I threw a Juneteenth event,

  • and Juneteenth is a day to commemorate the official end of slavery.

  • At the event, people were telling me they heard my story,

  • they were coming up to me like, "Yo, you opted out! That's so dope!"

  • But then they began to vent to me,

  • telling me about uncles pulled over for no reason,

  • cousins killed by the police.

  • They wanted me to know their stories so I could represent their voices,

  • and in that moment,

  • I felt so connected with helping them.

  • They felt that I was the person that could make their stories felt,

  • and honestly,

  • I was committed to doing whatever I needed to make that happen.

  • I don't know how to cure racism, fix police brutality

  • or any of the other problems plaguing America.

  • No one person can do that.

  • But we all can do what we can to make it felt.

  • Making it felt for me is an action.

  • It's not just protesting and raising your voice,

  • but also doing something to show your intention.

  • I opted out and now you feel me.

  • Honestly, that was a big move for me,

  • but now that I've done it,

  • it feels like it was almost inevitable.

  • And while making it felt can have a negative connotation

  • of violence and trouble,

  • I wanted to show that it could also have a really positive form.

  • Playing in the WNBA has afforded me a platform,

  • and with that platform, I want to create positive change.

  • So big picture,

  • I want to level the playing field

  • so that everyone has access to the same opportunities,

  • regardless of race.

  • To do this I know I need to increase exposure

  • to the young Black and brown youth,

  • showing them explosive fields like tech

  • and creating ways for them to develop those skills

  • so they can seize the opportunities.

  • We're creating a workshop

  • and partnering with organizations already doing the work,

  • taking small steps now

  • that I know will have a big impact in the future.

  • A lot of times we underestimate what we can do --

  • the effect we can have.

  • Imagine if we all started to think about "How can I make it felt?"

  • If we all took that leap of faith to stand for what we believe is right,

  • regardless of the very real fear embedded in that decision,

  • I think we would then start to fulfill the title of the United States of America

  • instead of the divided states that we're seeing right now.

  • I know from basketball that all it takes is a single moment,

  • a second, to change everything.

  • So let's choose to turn our moments into momentum.

  • I'm making it felt,

  • are you?

  • Thank you.

What would make me quit my job during the pandemic?

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B1 TED felt momentum honestly began leap

How to turn moments into momentum | Renee Montgomery

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/23
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