In honor of “Black History Month,” ESPN aired a segment called “Rise Up” on ESPN2 Thursday.
The segment on the sports network was a song and voice over, both by singer Andra Day and was written by ESPN’s Scoop Jackson.
While Day’s song “Rise Up” played, ESPN showed a montage of historical moments such as Rosa Parks, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” protests, Tamir Rice protests, “Black Lives Matter” marches, pro athletes wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts to games, 1968 Olympics “Black Power” salute, “I Am a Man” protests, as well as other civil rights moments in history.
Day urged those watching to not question why Missouri football players threatened to sit out games until the school’s president resigned or even why the NBA has taken a stand on gun violence.
Full transcript of Day’s speech as follows:
“We have a history of this. A history with this. A history of rising in the face of crisis, surviving in the heart and soul of struggle. ”
“Sometimes life requires you to take a stand. 60 years ago, Rosa Parks took a stand by taking a seat. She began a movement that propelled change.”
“The power of the news has transcended to hashtags, because black lives do matter. These moments force us — yes, us — to look deeper inside of ourselves, only to discover purpose of sitting down in silent protest to be heard and raising our hands the way we used to raise our fists to be understood. The ‘I Am a Man’ signs replaced by ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirt.”
“Don’t ask why Missouri football decided to stand up against authority. Don’t question James Blake’s right to stand up against racial profiling. Don’t dismiss Misty Copeland’s stand against prejudice. Or the NBA’s stand against gun violence. Our struggle does not stop. It simply continues. Black history does not repeat itself. It evolves. Rise with a sense of being. Rise with a sense of purpose. Rise up like the day. Why continue to sit when you were born to rise?”