To Our Community From CAO, Caesar Lopez:
Following the events that unfolded all over our country in the last weeks, I was asked by our CEO, Alex Leitão, about how we as a Club can not only enact change but actively listen, learn and support our brothers and sisters in the black community. I am proud that they have given me this platform to both be a spokesperson for our Club and also share my experiences as a person of color.
Like so many of you, I’m outraged by the loss of life and the persistent unequal treatment of those within our community, especially our black community. We are all too familiar with the senseless loss of life in America. With the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and countless others, it has become clear that we have to work harder than ever to bring about positive change in our community. Our people, our players, our fans and our community are in pain and we are hurting with them. This isn’t just a black community issue, this is a human issue.
Orlando is our home. It’s a city where people of all cultures, backgrounds, languages, sexual orientations and races come together. We must take this opportunity to unite and stand against racism, violence, hatred, and the institutions that perpetuate injustice.
I want to be clear about where our organization stands.
Orlando City SC strongly denounces the racism and hatred that has become all too normal in our country. However, this is not enough. What we have done as a community is not enough. What we have done as an organization is not enough.
We are committed to developing meaningful ways to use our platform and resources to fight injustice in our communities. We are in the process of scheduling conversations with activists, community members and government officials to learn how our Club can play an active role in addressing and changing the systemic issues in our society and I look forward to learning from each of them about how we can do better. As an organization, we will be reflecting inward and creating more open channels of dialogue with our black and minority staff members and players, learning how we can both support and elevate their voices.
I am proud of the work we have done in our local community, especially with our Parramore neighbors, but there is still much more that we can and will do. We need to help our black and minority community to create a constructive dialogue and make a meaningful difference. We have the power, and the responsibility, to have a culture and community where hate and discrimination have no place.
We need to stand together, to help each other and to love each other. We don’t have all the answers, but that does not mean we will stand in silence. We cannot be satisfied with the status quo. We have to intentionally and proactively be part of the change. I’m personally asking for each of you to be a part of the solution. Person by person, action by action, we can help shape our society into a place for all.
In the words of one of history’s greatest voices, James Baldwin: Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced.
We have work to do but we are prepared to face that work.
Let’s lead our city. Let’s make the world proud of Orlando.