Skip to main content

This Is En Fuego

En Fuego is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant sports stories that move, motivate and inspire us.

I picked up my son and headed out to see the protest. I held him tight and tried to explain what was going on and why it was taking place. Still mindful of COVID-19, we distanced.

It wasn’t too long ago when you could leave the house and didn’t have to remember the keys and the mask. But here we are, leaving the house to see a protest in support of the notion that black lives matter but first you have to remember your mask because we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Crazy times.

In any case, we walked down a half block to bask in the wave of peaceful protestors walking with purpose.

What do you tell a three-year-old that will resonate? How do you explain a protest in a way that will stick? Because I knew the question was coming.

This kid is going through the “Why?” phase. Want him to brush his teeth, he’ll ask you why. Tell him it’s time for bed, he’ll ask you why. Want him to wash his hands long enough to kill off any virus, he’ll be sure to open that can as well.

Trying to break down the reason a bunch of people would walk in solidarity is easy to explain: They are supporting a cause, a notion, a desire to be heard. They are mad and this is how you show your anger in a constructive manner.

Explaining why such a thing is necessary is trickier. It’s not every day hundreds of people walk down the middle of the street. Obviously, this little boy wants to know, “Why?”

Well, something happened to a man. Lots of men. And women too.

“Why?”

Well, unfortunately, there’s something called racism. It means that some people think that we can judge people on what they look like.

“Why?”

Some people weren’t shown the beauty of differences. Instead, they were taught that differences are bad or even dangerous.

“Why?”

Little boys and girls pick up on what their parents do and say and feel and sometimes those things are truly awful.

Being three, my son was either satisfied with our conversation or remembered it was lunchtime, because discussion of food took over without the least bit of regard as to a proper segue.

Now we worked to put En Fuego together long before the tragic death of George Floyd, a death that has sparked a massive wave of protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

We had the pleasure of speaking with some truly wonderful people of color and heard their inspiring stories before the world broke from its self-isolation hibernation to march for change.

Simply, the need to bring a spotlight to underrepresented communities preceded recent tragic events and will continue long after the cacophony for change moves into other forms of social activism.

It’s stories that bring us all closer together. It’s stories that build empathy and compassion across all manner of race, culture and economic standing.

Our mission will be to bring a voice to those who so often struggle to be heard. En Fuego is a channel dedicated to, at its foundation, telling stories.

In the coming weeks we will meet Michaela DePrince, a Black ballet dancer who is shattering the notion of what a classical performer should look like. Left at an orphanage at three in war-torn West Africa, she has risen to become one of the premier talents in ballet.

There’s Micah Johnson, a painter who discovered relatively late in life that he wasn’t just an MLB second baseman but an artist, one whose mission it is to spread the infectious notion that you must follow your dreams at all cost.

We will soon introduce you to some inspiring kids living in Delano, California. They wake up at four in the morning to work in the grape fields. They follow that up with school before heading out to football practice. They get all of four hours of sleep at night, excel in their studies and do it all with an abundance of gratitude.

You’ll also meet the impressive complement of talent at Veritas Prep, a school that is bringing raw basketball talent from Latin America and giving them not only a chance to succeed but also a home here in the United States.

I don’t have much in the way of answers for my son at this time. But I can promise him that I will do my best to show him empathy and more.

I will show him aspiration and inspiration tucked away in all manner of places from all manner of beautiful humans. They will be stories of lives he may not lead but lives that he can use to enrich and educate his own experience.

Stories matter. They drop us firmly in another’s world for a few moments, opening our eyes and our hearts to passions we never considered and issues we never faced.

Empathy is hard to come by in a world drowning in cynicism. But individual stories are the mortar that holds our culture together, and we are going to do our part in providing just that.

Why?

Because maybe my Mexican-American sons can enjoy a world that doesn’t burn so easily. Perhaps sons and daughters of African-American families can walk without fear from the very people employed to protect their well-being.

Maybe the next generation of LGBTQ sons and daughters will enjoy the world more and feel the need to explain themselves less.

To the females, minorities and disabled who have long made up the colorful backdrop of our American culture. It’s time for more of the spotlight.

On this site and many others that we fully support, the time is now to enrich this country with our stories. This is En Fuego.