We have a job to do and I have to stop crying.
I have a headache from crying. This week, Renate Winter, vice president of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, reported that a wave of police violence in Brazil had been committed in order to “present a problem-free city to the world” for the Olympics.* I had predicted this back in 2010 when I testified before Congress. But what do I know? I am not a police expert, nor am I a Brazil expert. It was just me, speaking from a place of pain and fear. And yet my fear became a terrible reality. When I read that quote from Winter I started crying and I cried all day. I am crying now. I cry a lot.
Today I am working on my presentation for a conference on sports to be held in Denmark. It is a bi-annual conference called “Play The Game”, and the theme of the conference is “The revolt against global events: A perfect storm for sport?” I am hoping to convince journalists and academics to pay more attention to the situation in Brazil, to be more frank about what is going on there, to release Brazil from its stereotype and enable people to hear the truth about this beautiful and horrific place. Some people from the Olympic Commission will be there, and I hope they hear me. Perhaps Winter’s UN report will add some weight to my voice this time.
In 2010 I went to Rio for the trial of the policeman who murdered my nephew Joe. I started crying during the drive to the airport, because who wants to go to Rio with such a purpose? Rio is supposed to be a fun, joyful destination. When I arrived at the airport in Boston I sat immobilized and crying. The friend who drove me there sat silently beside me, the tears filling her eyes but not quite flowing over. She reached across me and pushed open the car door and simply said, “You have a job to do, go.”
Now I am heading to Denmark, and again I have a job to do. But if we collectively accept that we are co-creators of sporting events—for what is a spectator sport without spectators?—then we all have a job to do. We must stop crying, end our culpable silence, and tell the International Olympic Committee and event sponsors “Don’t Kill For Me; Safe Games For All.” Please sign the petition and share it.
* This quote was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:“http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UN-Brazils-Police-Kill-Kids-to-Clean-Streets-for-Olympics-20151013-0044.html”.