Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker took the stage at Monday night’s anti-racism rally at Salt Lake City Hall, speaking briefly to the crowd of nearly 2,000 people about the importance of diversity and love in the wake of the violent white-supremacist gatherings over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
“I want to set the record straight: we all came here to build, not to destroy. We came out here because we don’t hate them, we just don’t like them. But they hate us,” he said.
Parker, a 22-year-old member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has spoken publicly in the past about a number of issues, including racism and gun violence in his hometown of Chicago. At Monday’s rally in Salt Lake City, Parker said he would be “doing a disservice for my people if I didn’t come here today” and said he would encourage other professional athletes to speak up, too.
Here is a transcript of Parker’s remarks:
“Good evening, everybody. I know a lot of you guys already know me, but I play in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I just want to give you guys a brief background on me. My mom, she’s from Tonga. My dad is [inaudible]. My best friend is Jewish. My uncle is gay. I could go on and on. I came from welfare, government cheese.
“I would be doing a disservice for my people if I didn’t come here today. So I’m here to speak for diversity. I’m diverse. It’s in my DNA. I love my culture. I love you.
“And hopefully I can get a few more professional athletes to do the same. …
“I want to set the record straight: we all came here to build, not to destroy. We came out here because we don’t hate them, we just don’t like them. But they hate us.”