Besides being a kick ass tennis player, Naomi Osaka cares deeply about getting justice for the families of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.

In 2012, 17-year-old Martin was fatally shot but the man charged for the murder was acquitted at trial, after claiming self-defence. The Department of Justice reviewed the case but could not file additional charges due to “insufficient evidence”.

Similarly, Arbery was fatally shot on 23 February this year but it took 74 days after the killing to finally arrest the three white perpetrators.

To highlight these injustices, Osaka wore custom face masks with Martin and Arbery’s names on them.

After her US Open match against Shelby Rogers on Tuesday, ESPN showed Osaka two clips – one from the mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and one from Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud Arbery.

In the emotional video, Fulton said:

I just want to say thank you to Naomi Osaka for representing Trayvon Martin on your customised mask… we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Similarly, Arbery said:

I just want to tell you thank you for the support for my family and God bless you for what you’re doing.

When asked what it meant to see the two videos, Osaka said:

It means a lot. They’re so strong, I’m not sure what I would be able to do if I was in their position. I feel like I’m a vessel at this point – in order to spread awareness and hopefully I can help with anything they need.

Osaka then watched the videos back later and was overcome with emotion, tweeting:

And people had nothing but praise for the professional tennis player:

The world number four women’s tennis player has also worn a mask in honour of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

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