Naomi Osaka is continuing to bring awareness to the Black lives who were lost due to racial violence.
On Sunday (Sep. 6), the tennis star wore a black mask with Trayvon Martin’s name written across it to beat Anett Kontaveit during her U.S. Open match. Martin was only 17 years old when he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator, in Sanford, Florida. The case sparked national outrage when Zimmerman was acquitted for the shooting, based on the Stand Your Ground law.
Osaka took to Twitter to reveal that Martin’s death was the one that opened her eyes to all of the racial injustices that were taking place in the world.
“I remember Trayvon’s death clearly,” she tweeted. “I remember being a kid and just feeling scared. I know his death wasn’t the first, but for me it was the one that opened my eyes to what was going on. To see the same things happening over and over still is sad. Things have to change.”
This is Osaka’s fourth tribute this week. She previously wore masks with the names Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Elijah McClain on them for her other matches. She told reporters that she brought seven different masks with her to the tournament — one for every match until the finals.
“It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get to the finals so you can see all of them,” Osaka said on Monday (Aug. 31).
Osaka, who is currently the highest-paid female athlete in the world, pulled out of her Western & Southern Open in New York City to stand in solidarity with other athletes who boycotted their games due to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake.
“Hello, as many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semifinals match tomorrow,” Osaka wrote in a statement. “However, before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman. And as a Black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis.”
Check out her tweet below.