Lauren Holiday and her husband, Jrue Holiday, were honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for their humanitarian and social justice efforts in the community. Through the JLH Social Impact Fund, the Holidays have given out grants worth over $3 million to Black and Brown businesses in New Orleans, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles. 

Lauren Holiday is white; her parents are Rita and George Cheney

Lauren Holiday was born on 30th September 1987, to Rita and George Cheney. She is white. 

The retired soccer player told Beliefnet that she and her siblings were raised in the church. “I was raised Lutheran my whole life,” Lauren said. “I went to church on Sundays. My mom raised us in the church.” 

Lauren said she started playing soccer as it was her brother’s favorite sport. “I followed everything that he did,” Lauren explained. “I played on the boy’s teams until I was 12. I just loved it and had a passion for it. You couldn’t get a soccer ball away from my foot.”

Jrue, a black man and Lauren’s husband, has faced criticism, especially from black women, for marrying a white woman. Despite an increase in the number of interracial marriages in the US, people still show bias against interracial couples, a study by the University of Washington found. 

“Some people are still not comfortable with interracial relationships, or at least they’re a lot less comfortable than they would appear to be,” researcher Allison Skinner told the University of Washington. The hatred towards Lauren and Jrue sometimes appears online. 

For instance, in March 2018, TheYBF Instagram page shared a video of Jrue playing with his daughter on the basketball court with two women, one black and the other white, seated behind him. Some netizens took issue with the fact that the white woman was Jrue’s husband. “It seems to be a status thing with black men,” one comment read (per BET). “They don’t feel as if they’ve ‘arrived’ if they don’t have a non-black woman on their hip.”

Lauren’s ties to the black community have exposed her to America’s institutional racism

Lauren’s marriage to Jrue Holiday exposed her to the institutional racism non-white people experience in America. In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, Lauren described one incident that shook her to her core. 

She said an officer pulled her and Jrue’s sister over on their way to Starbucks and asked for documentation. Neither had their licenses, so Jrue’s sister, also called Lauren, called Jrue to help. The moment Jrue stepped out of the car, Lauren said he was arrested. Lauren said:

“They handcuffed him. No, seriously: Even though the officer knew in advance that Jrue was my husband, and that he was coming to the scene, and why. And even though Jrue could not have been more careful, or more deferential, in how he made his approach. All the cop saw was this large black man getting out of a car. That was it – apparently that was enough.”

Lauren stated that while she got angry, Jrue remained calm. She explained that the incident stuck with her primarily due to the reaction by Jrue’s sister. Lauren continued:

“Her face was completely paralyzed with dread. It was the face of something that, as a white person, I’d never experienced before: the feeling — no, the knowledge — that any interaction you have with the police could potentially be fatal. That any breath you take in the presence of a cop could potentially be your last. We got lucky.”