US teen tennis star Coco Gauff joins chorus of protest after Minneapolis death, asks 'Am I next?'

Gauff's video also included a photo of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager whose killing helped spark the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Reuters May 30, 2020 09:12:54 IST
US teen tennis star Coco Gauff joins chorus of protest after Minneapolis death, asks 'Am I next?'

New York: Teenage tennis phenomenon Coco Gauff released a video protesting killings of African-Americans in the United States on Friday, joining a chorus of outrage across the country that followed the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged on Friday with murder in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd after cellphone footage of the white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck prompted a wave of protests.

Sixteen-year-old African-American Gauff said on Twitter this week she would "always use my platform to help make the world a better place," and on Friday called for action from others in a TikTok video posted to her Twitter account, but the video has since been deleted.

“This is why I am using my voice to fight against racism,” the caption read, as the video cut to images of Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man whose shooting in Brunswick, Georgia, was also captured on video. Three white men were charged in his death earlier this month.

Gauff’s video also included a photo of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager whose killing helped spark the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

The words, “Am I next?” appeared on screen, as Gauff, wearing a black hoodie, faced the camera and raised her hands.

“I am using my voice,” the caption concluded, “Will you use yours?”

A slightly different version of the video was later posted by the Tennis sensation.

Gauff joins numerous other athletes, including basketball stars LeBron James and Lisa Leslie, who have spoken out following Floyd’s death.

Gauff seized the tennis spotlight at last year’s Wimbledon, where she defeated her idol Venus Williams in the first round and made it through to the fourth.

She backed up that performance with strong showings at the 2019 US Open and 2020 Australian Open, ultimately breaking into tennis’ top 50 at the age of 15.

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