On his birthday, Sean McGrew gave a gift.
Specifically, UW’s senior running back donated more than $500 on Wednesday to organizations working to confront racial injustice — $258.32 to the Black Visions Collective and $250 to the Black Lives Matter Global Network. He posted the receipts on Instagram, then took to social media to urge others to do the same.
“What’s good, y’all? I hope all of you have been staying positive and safe during this time of pandemic and change going on in our country,” McGrew said in a video message Thursday. “The recent events of injustice and hate against my African-American brothers has gotten to me, and I just wanted to say a couple things. I know that me being white, I’ll never understand what you guys go through on a daily basis. But I see your pain and it hurts me that people I consider family to me are constantly looking over their shoulder in situations that they shouldn’t have to. I pray and hope for a world where you guys can feel safe when there’s a cop around, just like I do.
“With that being said, today’s my birthday — which completely doesn’t matter, because there are more important things going on in the world right now. And I thank you guys for all the birthday wishes today, but I would actually like to do something that benefits my brothers and sisters today. I’m donating $250 to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Visions Collective group. I would love for some of y’all to join me.”
Founded in Minnesota in 2017, the Black Visions Collective states on its website that “we aim to center our work in healing and transformative justice principles, intentionally develop our organization’s core DNA to ensure sustainability, and develop Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns. By building movements from the ground up with an integrated model, we are creating the conditions for long term success and transformation.”
Likewise, Black Lives Matter states that its mission is “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.”
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, UW head coach Jimmy Lake released a statement that read in part that “my message to our team and beyond is being respectful, loving, honest, forthright, caring, and compassionate can do a lot to bring people together and make a change for the better.”
In his redshirt junior season in Seattle in 2019, McGrew — a 5-foot-7, 186-pound running back from Torrance, Calif. — rushed for 342 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. That included 100-yard rushing performances in wins over BYU and Arizona. The former St. John Bosco High School standout is expected to join redshirt sophomore Richard Newton and redshirt freshman Cameron Davis as staples in the Husky backfield this fall.
But first, he used his birthday to attempt to make a change.