Thabo Sefolosha Shares His Story

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I had been raised on liberty tunes from South Africa. I recall dancing all night with my loved ones when Nelson Mandela walked out of jail after being held for 27 years. In addition, I remember seeing my dad cry for the first time once we went to watch”Sarafina!” , a drama about the battle of Black South Africans under the apartheid regime. I had been a youngster, possibly 8 years old. I remember crying, also, in my mum’s lap, a white girl from Switzerland who fell in love with a Black guy in South Africa. They needed to depart to offer a safer environment for their kids. This was my introduction into the notion of race.

Growing up in Switzerland, I had been, for the majority of my college years, the only Black kid in my class and frequently the only one within my own school. Because the majority of us do, I discovered little by little that the stigma attached to the colour of my skin could be of fantastic value in my own life.

One time, when I had been 15 years old, three police officers stopped me on the measures of my college. They requested me to empty my pockets empty my back pack. They’d heard of a few drug dealing going on in the school. So, needless to say, I’m the one they ceased. I went home feeling humiliated. After a time, I figure we get accustomed to it. The funny looks. The mad looks.

Therefore, on April 8, 2015, I did not think much once an officer targeted me out a nightclub in nyc. However, I was shocked when five officers chose to strike mebreak my leg and then place handcuffs on my wrists to get nothing. [The charges placed on Thabo were for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration for allegedly interfering with officers after then-Knicks forward Chris Copeland was stabbed during an altercation.—Ed.]

After spending the evening and the majority of the afternoon in prison, I was eventually released. I needed to come to grips with what had occurred. Three charges in my title, my livelihood in peril, a significant operation and probably a trial against the police and Justice Department of New York City ahead.

After nine years living in America, perhaps I ought to have known better. I watched the violence each night on the news cycle. I saw many shows such as”Cops” with police chases and movie-like arrests. And I’d seen hashtag following hashtag on societal media of Black folks dying in the hands of the authorities and has been outraged with each one of these. But I hadn’t ever believed it might be me. I believed so long as I do not violate the law, I’m fine. But that night, I have reminded it isn’t exactly what you can do, however, what you look like.

September came around quite fast. Surgery had gone well. I had been rehabbing for the approaching season. At the center of training camp, I needed to visit New York City for its trial. I had been facing up to 2 years in prison, with my job visa reluctantly along with the revocation of my faith to visit the USA. My entire NBA fantasy was at stake.

Thabo Sefolosha Shares His Story Giv.in

This was undoubtedly the most stressful period of my entire life. I know for sure that with your livelihood at the hands of strangers would be a dreadful feeling. Can they provide the benefit of the doubt to the authorities? Can they listen to my own side of this story?

I had been fearful. I thought of taking the plea bargain that they gave me, that was only one day of public service, 1 year probation and a few technicality that stipulated that nobody was to blame.

But frankly, I was mad! Angry the bullying did not stop at the road that night. It was the Justice Department’s turn to attempt and criminalize an innocent. Throughout the trial, the evidence was so apparent that it required less than an hour to the prosecution to develop a not-guilty conclusion.

Why did the DA actually opt to prosecute that situation? Is it justice which the officers face no consequences to their actions? In the recovery process for any victim of a crime, using the culpable prosecuted and billed is vital. Why is it OK to deny the again and again every time a police officer is concerned? Why are they above the law?

Once I heard that the”not guilty” verdict, it was a massive relief. It was just like the burden of this entire world was lifted from my shoulders. It felt fantastic, but just for a couple minutes. It is one of those successes you don’t actually celebrate. What am I celebrating? I’m not going to prison? I should not have been in the first location.

We frequently hear that the machine is broken. I’d challenge that notion and ask whether the system does not work precisely how it was supposed to. The story of Eric Garner woke up me into the matter, and each day more people are seeing what’s happening. For many people, George Floyd’s killing has been the final straw. It struck something deep within the humanity of those who watched the movie. Enough is enough.

I’ve been motivated to find people protesting in towns across the world. It gives me hope. That is why I needed to share my own story. In 2015, I became a part of these numbers of Black men being arrested and detained in the usa. I’m alive and able to tell my own story. I’m blessed.

Families have been torn apart. Rhetoric to connect Black with criminality remains utilized. And it’s a weapon. The systemic devastation of the Black community has produced us an easy goal.

Let us feed the energy and momentum made to combine and organize.

100 percentage of profits from SLAM’s new dilemma is going to be contributed to the Social Change Fund.  Grab your copy .

Pictures via Getty.

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