When it comes to wanting change and joining movements, athletes play a special role since people across the world look up to them and they’re constantly in the spotlight.
“Your speech Friday evening was really strong and it spoke of your toughness, your resiliency, your grittiness…there is no doubt we felt you,” Coach Dan Quinn said as he welcomed mayor Bottoms to the team.
Quinn asked mayor Bottoms what the team could do to show support for Atlanta and the community.
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Atlanta Is a Model for the Nation
From spending her entire livelihood in Atlanta and growing up a Falcons fan, Keisha Lance Bottoms shares what strikes her the most.
“This is such a tremendous honor, mayor Bottoms said to the team. I’m sitting here really as a fan. You [Dan Quinn] know I’m a season ticket holder. Somebody recently asked me what was I going to do after quarantine and I promised one of my kids we’d go to a Falcons game. I’m not a new Falcons fan. Born and raised in Atlanta you sit and watch the football games every single Sunday, with my grandfather.
“I just thank you all for your love and your heart for Atlanta. I’ve been mayor since 2018. It seems like dog years. And the thing that strikes me over and over again is how we do things differently in this city.
When I arrive to our city and I look at the Civil Rights murals, and I saw just the commitment to our city, and the willingness to partner with us. I think it’s really a model for the Nation.”
Speak From the Heart
Mayor Bottoms gave a powerful speech on Friday after peaceful protests turning into violent riots. She called for unity and non-violence.
She told the Falcons players how she spoke from her heart and didn’t read from a script. She compared her love for Atlanta to the Falcons’ owner, Arthur Blank‘s love for the city as well.
“You all know better than I do, the love Arthur Blank has for our community and for our Westside community, Bottoms said.
“What you heard from me on Friday was just this love and unfiltered recitation publically about how I feel about our city and what it means to so many people. I didn’t walkout with a script on Friday. I didn’t know what should be said. I knew how I felt as a mother. I know how it feels watching my son and my kids navigate this.
“I honestly can’t even tell you what I remember what I said on Friday. I had to come back home and watch it to even know what I had said. For me as a person of faith. I think that really was God speaking through me on Friday and cleary it’s what people needed to hear.”
People Have to Have Hope, Give Hope
Bottoms emphasized that we, America, have to have hope and share hope by using our voice.
“The question that you [Dan Quinn] asked, ‘was what can you do’, Bottoms said.
“It has been really difficult to really articulate what we want on the other side of this. It’s easy to say we want police brutality to stop but we know the reality is another incident. I think what we need really as a model across this country is what we’re doing right here in Atlanta the Arthur Blank Foundation. Because people gotta have something to hope for.
“There has to be a way that we as a community and with your amplified voices we’ve gotta be able to speak hope to people right now. But we’ve gotta give people a belief that there’s something better on the other side of all of this while recognizing their anger. I think especially it being from a diverse group of people, to say I feel you and I understand you. When I saw white police officers, pictures of white police officers taking the knee with protestors, I know it’s already happening.
“It’s not even enough for me to talk to my children and my sons. It’s everybody talking to their children and everybody talking to their children and their sons saying we recognize you, we hear you and we want to help our country get to the other side fit.”