update: the nascar racing body issued a statement on the afternoon of june 10, ahead of the race in which bubba wallace's chevy will wear black lives matter livery. it said: "the presence of the confederate flag at nascar events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. the display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all nascar events and properties."
bubba wallace will run a special black lives matter livery on his no. 43 chevy for wednesday's blue-emu maximum pain relief 500 nascar race at martinsville speedway.
the livery is the latest show of support for the blm movement in motorsports, from lewis hamilton's passionate social media posts to nascar's statement saying that we all must be "united in the stand against racism, hatred, and senseless violence and loss of life."
"black lives matter" was popularized after the 2013 acquittal of george zimmerman, who shot and killed trayvon martin. the slogan promotes racial equality and accountability for racist actions. it does not mean that all lives do not matter, but rather calls attention to the systematic way in which black lives are devalued in modern society.
following george floyd's death and the ensuing protests, the phrase has become even more popular with thousands protesting in support of serious reform for the betterment of race relations in the united states. it's marked an important turning point for nascar, which is not typically seen as a progressive sport. richard childress and richard petty, two key team owners, said in 2017 that any driver who knelt for the national anthem would likely lose their seat.
petty, though, owns the team that wallace drives for. that makes this livery even more notable; not only is wallace one of the most successful black nascar drivers in history, but he drives for a team that used to be staunchly opposed to acts of protest due to racism in america. as with so many brands posting, donating, and acting in support of the blm movement, it shows that the slogan has moved from a controversial activist phrase to a mainstream belief.