Mizzou athletes plan social justice march for Wednesday
Missouri student-athletes have organized a march for Wednesday night to bring further awareness to social justice issues, event organizers confirmed.
The march will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex to The Columns on Francis Quadrangle, with marchers encouraged to wear all black.
The mission of the march is “to shine light on the social injustices in our society,” according to an event flyer.
The planning of the event has been spearheaded by football player Kobie Whiteside as well as track and field athletes Cason Suggs and Olivia Evans.
Suggs is the president of Black Student Athlete Association; this will be the BSAA’s first event of any kind. Other BSAA leaders include Missouri soccer player Keiarra Slack along with Tigers track and field athletes Arielle Mack and Atina Kamasi.
Female Athlete Minorities at Mizzou, another newly formed organization, will also participate in the march.
Similar marches have taken place at college campuses across the country, including Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Wednesday night’s march comes less than a week after the Missouri football team held a three-hour meeting instead of a previously scheduled practice.
A team statement said the decision was “in order to focus on the current state of our country.” The statement later directly mentioned racism and police brutality.
On Saturday, Tigers football players and head coach Eli Drinkwitz spoke out about the decision after returning to practice.
“We’ve been doing this for over 100 years,” Missouri junior linebacker Nick Bolton, a team captain, said of advocating for social equality for African Americans. “And so, (we’re) just trying to take it day by day, to try to bring awareness to the situation, nothing really more than that, other than just bring light to the situation and help those who don’t completely understand it, just bring understanding to the situation. And that was just our main goal ... and I think we accomplished that.”
The march comes after Jacob Blake, an African American male, was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer on Aug. 23 while opening the door and leaning into his vehicle during an altercation with police over a domestic violence dispute.
The Blake family’s attorney said Blake was paralyzed and that it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again, the Associated Press reported.
The shooting of the 29-year-old Blake was captured on cellphone video. No charges have been announced, and state officials continue to investigate.
This isn’t the first march for social justice that MU athletes have participated in.
In early June, during the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death, protests of social injustice swept the nation, including more than a dozen demonstrations in Columbia.
One of those protests, a peaceful demonstration June 3, was spearheaded by MU safety and Columbia native Martez Manuel, as members of the football team and several others from the Missouri athletic department marched from the Francis Quadrangle to the Boone County Courthouse.
While at the courthouse, the group knelt for 8 minutes, 46 seconds – the length of time related to Floyd’s killing – and 62 student-athletes registered to vote.