Naomi Osaka 'humbled' by messages from Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin parents
Naomi Osaka was ‘humbled’ after being shown video messages from the parents of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery – two shooting victims she has paid tribute to at the US Open.
Osaka has been wearing a different personalised face mask every round of the US Open so far – with each mask bearing the name of black American who has been killed – in a bid to highlight racial injustice.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain have also been honoured, and Osaka – who will face Jennifer Brady in the semi-finals – has a different mask prepared for every round.
After her quarter-final win over Shelby Rogers on Tuesday, Osaka – the two-time Grand Slam champion from Japan – was shown video messages from parents of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.
Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot after being pursued by armed white men in Georgia in February. Eight years earlier, Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, was killed by a neighbourhood watch volunteer in Florida.
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, said: ‘I just want to say thank you to Naomi Osaka for representing Trayvon Martin on your customised masks and also for Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Continue to do well. Continue to kick butt at the US Open. Thank you.’
Marcus Arbery Sr., the father of Ahmaud Arbery, said: ‘Naomi, I just want to tell you thank you for the support of my family and God bless you for what you’re doing. My family really appreciate that.’
Osaka was clearly struck by the messages and initially responded: ‘I feel like I’m a vessel, at this point, and in order to spread awareness and, hopefully, it’s not going to dull the pain, but hopefully I can, you know, help with anything that they need.’
In her post-match press conference, she was asked to reflect further on the messages and added: ‘Actually I was just trying really hard not to cry.
‘For me it’s a bit surreal. It’s extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I’m doing.
‘For me, I feel like what I’ve doing is nothing. It’s a speck of what I could be doing.
‘Yeah, it was really emotional. I feel like, I don’t know, after I saw it, at first I was a bit in shock.
‘Now that I’m here and I took the time, I don’t know, I’m really grateful and I’m really humbled.’
She added on Twitter: ‘I often wonder if what I’m doing is resonating and reaching as many people as I hope.
‘That being said, I tried to hold it in on set but after watching these back I cried so much.
‘The strength and the character both of these parents have is beyond me. Love you both, thank you’
Source: Read Full Article