On Monday night, the McNair family launched a new video series titled, "Conversations for Change," aimed to continue the dialogue about racism and social injustice.
Led by Houston Texans Co-founder and Senior Chair Janice McNair, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Cal McNair and Houston Texans Foundation Vice President Hannah McNair, the first of their roundtable discussions features former Texans defensive end Travis Johnson. The four have a candid conversation on a number of topics about racism, sharing personal experiences to shine a light on the struggles within the black community. Despite being a star athlete and six-year NFL veteran, Johnson opens up about the realities of growing up black and worrying about his own children's future.
"There's been a lot of hurt in our country recently, but it's been here for a long time and for you to come out and share your experience, it's so powerful and it really hits home," Cal McNair said to Johnson. "The hope is that we get the truth out there. That this isn't just one incident, that there's just untold number of incidents and it's not right and we just have to change it and this is a good step. Hopefully it makes a difference. It's hard to change the world, but we can try to make our little corner better and hopefully this is, you know, moving in that direction. That's our prayer."
Johnson, a first-round draft pick selected by the Texans in 2005, shares his experience as a 14-year-old black teen living in the Los Angeles area. Johnson, whose family moved from the predominantly black Inglewood neighborhood to the white suburb of Oak Park, recanted a chilling memory with the police after leaving a 7-on-7 school event. With a gun pointed at the teen's head, the police officer ordered Johnson out of the car. The NFL veteran describes the scene in detail, watching as his coaches and teammates all passed by and no one stopped to help him.
Johnson hopes that together with the McNairs and the Texans organization, they can make difference.
"Cal, I need you to pull over," Johnson said. "I need you to help me because you have the platform I'll never have. You have the platform that we, in our community, don't have many of and the people who do, they always scoff at them. You know, you get somebody with money that tells their story they're like, 'you don't experience that'. But with your help, we can achieve so much more."
The McNair Family and Johnson discuss their hopes in bringing awareness to the experiences of the black community, how to bring change and their hopes for their children and the future.