After the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, seniors and first responders were invited to Game 5 of the Rockets Western Conference Finals. Before the game, students were photographed participating in a moment of silence, which set out off cries of racism.
The NBA shared a picture of students holding hands during that moment on its Twitter page. Many people then began pointing out how the Black student in the photo is not holding hands with her white classmates. The small observation resulted in the classmates being called racist.
After the photo and subsequent reactions went viral, Nicole Janice, the Black senior at Santa Fe High School pictured, spoke out against anyone making assumptions about her grieving classmates.
She and her mother, Lynda, spoke with KHOU about the incident.
“It’s very disappointing that people are going to take a race issue out of a picture with nine grieving girls in it,” Nicole told KHOU. “I grieve in my own different way. I don’t like to be touched. When we had that moment of silence, I didn’t want to grab anyone’s hands because I didn’t want to break down before we sang [the national anthem].”
Lynda explained that a wider shot of the moment would show there were other students who were not holding hands.
“When Nicole came out of her room Saturday morning, she was upset that they had turned this into a race thing, because she knew what was real,” her mom, Lynda, told KHOU. “To make something so simple into a race issue was just absolutely ludicrous.”
Nicole wants everyone to know that her race has never been an issue at school and anyone who is trying to turn a moment of grief into a racial debate is absurd.
(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)