For the Hatley family in Lancaster, Texas, outside of Dallas, the fact that their new stallion has been crossing the finish line and landing in the winner’s circle is only one part of the success story. The other has to do with the young Quarter Horse stallion’s name: Black Lives Matter.
While protests were unfolding across the United States and around the world in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, the Hatleys watched. As Black horsemen in Texas, they recall experiencing racism when going to the track with their racehorse-owning father during their childhood.
When the Hatleys re-entered the sport and acquired the horse, their motivation for the name was simple and powerful: to keep the work of BLM alive by having the words announced to the world each time their horse ran a race.
“With all the police brutality and awareness of Black Lives Matter movement, I think it was the best time ever to keep it going so it would never, ever be forgotten,” Keelronn Hatley told a news outlet. Their story has since gone viral on social media as well.
In the news item, the Hatley brothers recount how their parents started racing Quarter Horses in the Lone Star state in the 1960s, and they were the first Black family to be involved in owning and training QH racehorses. But their father passed away in 2006, followed by the loss of their mother in 2008, and the family had been out of the sport for decades when the horse Black Lives Matter came into their lives in 2021.
According to the brothers, there was pushback to the choice of name, and they were informed that they shouldn’t use it as it would stoke racial tension. They did it anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Black Lives Matter won his first race and is set to run again on April 30th in Houston; a win there would qualify the stallion for the finals in May. No matter what happens, symbolically, it’s a win-win, with the horse raising awareness of BLM every time he runs.
“This is God’s plan,” Hatley Jr. told the local CBC station. “That’s why his name is Black Lives Matter. It has nothing to do with nothing else, because Black lives truly matter. We just want the world to know that we’re here and we’re here to stay.”