Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan donating $500,000 to support Atlanta's black community

ByVAUGHN MCCLURE via <a href="http://espn.go.com/" title="ESPN" class="espn_sc_byline">ESPN </a> via via logo
June 05, 2020, 10:29 AM

In wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was suffocated on video by a white police officer, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is donating $500,000 toward a GoFundme fundraiser he's established aimed at advancing lives in the black community of Atlanta.

Ryan, who wears the jersey No. 2, has set a goal of raising $2 million.

Racial injustice has risen to the forefront of the conversation and has sparked protests nationally. Floyd's death was the tipping point in a number of fatal encounters involving blacks, following the killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville police officers and Ahmaud Arbery, whose shooting death led to murder charges against three white males in Georgia.

Ryan explained why he decided to take such action.

"Last week I made a commitment to listening and learning, and one of the messages that hit home for me was the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to a situation,'' Ryan said in a statement. "For far too long, I have reacted to social injustice with empathy and silent support but failed to follow through with active support. I feel the time has come to RESPOND. For ALL of us to respond.

"I see my city hurting, which is why I'm starting a fundraiser to help improve conditions for people of color in the city of Atlanta. ... Over the next few weeks, months I'm going to listen to the needs of the black community and get guidance on how I can be most impactful. I'm going to get input from local grassroots organizations as well as community leaders who are committed to making change.''

Ryan already made an impression on his teammates when he spoke out on Instagram after Floyd was suffocated by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder.

"My heart goes out to all of those who loved George Floyd, and all those who have been impacted by similar tragedies. I know that I cannot fully understand the depth and complexity of these issues because of the color of my skin, which is a sad testament to all of the work we have left to do. I know I am only one man, but I also know I am committed to doing what I can. That commitment includes listening and learning with all humility and compassion. It is the least I can do. IT is the least WE all can do.''

Fellow Falcons' captain Ricardo Allen applauded Ryan's post.

"For Ice to show the support and that he's got love, it's really just an acknowledgement that he understands,'' Allen said of Ryan "For Ice to come from probably a totally different background and place in life then I come from - and I can't expect him to fully feel what it feels like to grow up in the hood or what it truly feels like to be a black man in America - but for him to actually take that stance and say that and let us know that he feels us, I appreciate that.''

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