The Louisville men’s basketball team led an hour-long demonstration on Friday, calling for unity, tolerance and equality two days after no officers were charged for their role in Breonna Taylor’s death.
“It hits different when it happens in your own backyard,” a player said in Louisville’s video. “I think I can speak for a lot of guys here when I say we’re hurting.”
Keep fighting for change. pic.twitter.com/OIVzLaRSbU
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) September 26, 2020
Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT in Louisville. She was shot and killed by police in March and on Wednesday a grand jury decided not to move forward with charges in her death. An officer was charged with wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment.
Louisville players: ‘It’s time to take a stand’
Coach Chris Mack and players David Johnson, Charles Minlend and Malik Williams gave speeches and led the peaceful march from Cardinal Stadium to Throws Field, per the Louisville Courier-Journal. It was the 121st day of protests in Louisville since Taylor’s death.
Hundreds of Cardinals athletes and citizens joined them chanting “Breonna Taylor” and “No justice, no peace.” Players wore black T-shirts with the Cardinal logo and “BLM.”
Tough. TOGETHER. Unbreakable. pic.twitter.com/cAvEy2eHlZ
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) September 25, 2020
Williams, a 6-foot-11 senior from Indiana, spoke at the demonstration, via the Courier-Journal.
“Over the past three years, I’ve come to love the city of Louisville. Louisville has become home. Louisville is family. I love the ‘Ville with all my heart. That’s why I share my deepest condolences with the Taylor family,” Williams said. “It breaks my heart to hear the situation and the tragedy that Breonna went through. And to not see justice be served, it is time to take a stand. It is time to take a stand against police brutality and social injustice against the Black community.”
He urged the crowd to attend a voter registration event next weekend — echoing the call by professional athletes that “justice is on the ballot” — and shared his gratitude on social media later in the night.
WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE! THIS WAS ONLY THE START! Thank you to all who supported us with the march, even those who could not make it. It’s Love 🖤 we have to get rid of stigmas, discrimination, racism and hate! Extremely grateful for this eye opening experience. pic.twitter.com/pa1QX1TCx3
— Malik Williams5️⃣ (@leek_willi) September 26, 2020
Mack told the Courier-Journal he was proud to be the Cardinals coach and support the unified front during a time when the country is “so daggone divided.”
“I understand as a white guy, a white 50-year-old, that Black America is hurting. And in order for Black America to not hurt, white people have got to get involved. Older white people,” Mack said, via the Journal.
Athletic director Vince Tyra called it a “difficult day” for the city, university and athletic department in a statement the day of the grand jury announcement.
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