JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- A march organized by East Tennessee State University Athletics drew a large crowd Wednesday night as students, staff, and community members walked from campus to downtown in a show of unity.
“There’s been a lot of wrongdoing that’s been going on in this country and I know a lot of us have done marches and protests back home but why not do one where we go to school at?” said Quay Holmes, a junior running back for the football team.
The event titled ‘March for Social Justice’ was open to everyone at ETSU and the community. The idea came from football players who wanted to use their platform and reach on campus to draw awareness to issues being brought up.
“This was completely started from our student-athletes. I cannot tell you how proud I am of them. I’m just so excited for us to see the love we have for one another,” said Scott Carter, ETSU’s Athletic Director. “We’re supportive of their unity and the love that they want to share and spread and be better as people and talk about tough conversations that need to happen.”
News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel followed the group led by football players as they marched from outside of the Mini Dome on campus to Founders Park.
“It felt like I chose a great institution to do my education at,” said graduate assistant Romello Fleming. “They understand the need in my community as a black person and the need in Johnson City even though it’s a small town.”
Once the group was at Founders Park, several student-athletes and community members spoke in front of the large crowd hoping to get across one important message.
“ETSU and ETSU athletics stand for something…behind our black athletes… that we stand against all racism,” said Tre’Mond Shorts, a junior offensive lineman.
Earlier this week, ETSU Athletics launched a 12-part video series that explores the experiences of Black student-athletes, coaches and administrators.