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Héritier Lumumba reclaimed his name and found strength in African history. Will it change Collingwood and the AFL?

On May 31, 2020, a sea of people filled the streets of the Fairfax District in Los Angeles. Five police helicopters circled above their heads. Two LAPD squad cars were set alight and burned.

Days earlier, the world had watched George Floyd take his last breaths. Now emotions reached boiling point — anger expressed in a cacophony of dissent. Riot police arrived with rubber bullets, batons and tear gas.

Héritier Lumumba made us feel uncomfortable, and from that we have much to learn

In football, the dogs bark, and the caravan moves on. There’s always next week. There’s always a new hero, a new villain, a new outrage. For years, Collingwood hoped, or assumed, that Héritier Lumumba would simply go away. He was living on the other side of the world. Most of the major players in the controversy were no longer at the club. Collingwood had positioned itself as a more progressive organisation.

Aos 8, era chamado de 'macaco' em campo, diz brasileiro que denunciou racismo na Austrália

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If the AFL is a 'leading' anti-racist organisation, why won't it address the racism I faced?

I loved playing football. I gave 12 years of my life to playing the game professionally. But those years were also marked by the pain of being trapped in a culture that condoned racism through a combination of ignorance, habit, and arrogance. In the end, the message to a young, black man like me was clear: I was only of value if I didn’t challenge the status quo.
In the past few weeks, I have re-lived the events that marked my final years of football

‘What side of history will you stand on?’: Lumumba’s powerful open letter to former AFL teammates

Following yesterday’s social media post directed at former club Collingwood, Héritier Lumumba has today written an open letter to his former teammates, shared exclusively with

The now 33-year-old, who is living on Los Angeles, called on his former club to “publicly acknowledge” his “experiences of racism were inadequately dealt with, which caused further damage.”

Por que não conhecemos a fantástica história do brasileiro Héritier Lumumba?

Em entrevista ao podcast Ubuntu Esporte Clube, o ex-jogador de futebol australiano conta em detalhes a sua luta contra o racismo, que derrubou o presidente do clube e abalou as estruturas do esporte mais popular da Austrália. Entretanto, seu caso ainda é pouco conhecido no Brasil

Mas a parte agradável desse roteiro da vida real para por aí. Em entrevista ao podcast Ubuntu Esporte Clube, Lumumba contou que o caminho entre a imigração e o estrelato foi pavimentado com muita discriminação, dor, coragem e resiliência.