GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Student-athletes and coaches at East Carolina University are showing their support to groups like Black Lives Matter with a march on campus.
They took part in a demonstration Monday afternoon, walking from the athletic district to the cupola at the mall. Speakers included athletes like Xavier Smith, who spoke on behalf of the football team.
Jeremy Lewis also stepped up to the microphone and addressed the crowd of athletes. He started off with a paraphrased quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr, “Our lives begin to end when we stay silent about the things that matter.”
The march ended with athletes and members of ECU’s coaching ranks kneeling and holding a moment of silence. Members of the event called for changes in law enforcement treatment of African-Americans.
Speakers at the event also called on other ECU students to support the effort at the voting booth in November. Xianna Josephs, a member of the Women’s Basketball team, talked about this movement lasting beyond a social media post.
“It’s bigger than this, it’s bigger than a march, it’s much more than that,” said Xianna Josephs, women basketball. It’s very important that we as athletics go out and vote for someone who is going to perpetuate this message to the rest of the world.”Xianna Josephs, Womens Basketball
ECU Quarterback Holton Ahlers was expected to speak at the event, but couldn’t due to feeling unwell. He did tweet a video showing his support for the march.
Coaches who took part in the demonstration told athletes to brace themselves for criticism, from people in the community who may oppose their stance.