Letter from Doug Baldwin: Past drives my work for change

A letter from Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin Jr.:

As a young boy, I enjoyed playing cops and robbers with my friends in the neighborhood. We would set up bases and have different roles on each team. We each had our own arsenal of toy weapons and gadgets at our disposal. We played until the street lights came on without a care in the world. I never thought much about those times as I got older. Until I heard about the story of Tamir Rice. Tamir was a 12-year-old boy shot and killed by police officers in 2014 after they received a police dispatch call of a black male that "keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people."

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am not anti-police. I believe that there are many men and women who serve our communities as guardians to those in them. I admire these men and women and appreciate their courage. But that is not to say that the system is not without its problems. The case of Tamir Rice is very evident of that and resonates more so with me because I was once a young boy with a toy gun pointing it at my friends as we played together. I never imagined a scenario playing out like in the case of Tamir Rice. It was devastatingly sad and hit too close to home. I don't have kids yet, but I couldn't help but think about their future.

This emotional and empathetic moment in my life has brought me to the realization that I have a voice and an opportunity to effectuate the change I want to see. As a human being sharing this earth with other human beings, I feel like I have an obligation to do my part and that is why I have decided to act.

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