Bill Russell

Celtics Legend Bill Russell Offers Thoughts on Protests Against Racial Injustice

Bill Russell looks on as Dr. Harry Edwards asks him how he felt about students getting paid for sports while in college on the second day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, on April 9, 2014.
Ricardo B. Brazziell-Pool/Getty Images

Bill Russell is no stranger to racial injustice. Born in 1930s Louisiana, he led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships in the 1950s and 60s. He has spoken and written much about his experiences with racism.

Tuesday, in Boston Globe Magazine, Russell shared some of his thoughts on the push for change that has followed the death of George Floyd in police custody.

"Let me remind you of that unfulfilled promise, the one right there in the Declaration of Independence: 'All men are created equal' … 'they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,'" Russell writes. "I've been waiting my whole life for America to live up to that promise."

Russell says the nation has still not fulfilled that promise, and decries "the systemic and pervasive killing of Black and brown people."

"Yet, I am heartened by the waves of Black Lives Matter protesters risking their lives to march among our streets. I am heartened by the Minneapolis City Council's pledge to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department in response to their protests," he writes. "And I sincerely hope that these kinds of strange days are forever behind us, and that real, lasting change will finally be realized. Our lives depend on it."

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