Black Athletes Lives Matter Movement at SU
By John Perik
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – On Wednesday, April 21, Syracuse University student athletes marched from Skytop to Coyne field to bring awareness toward social and racial justice issues. The event was organized by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s Equity Committee and Diversity and Inclusion Student Athlete Board. The chief organizer behind the event was Grace Asch, a member of SU’s rowing team.
For Asch, the event surpassed expectations.
“It was bigger than any of us could have ever imagined,” said Asch. “We really don’t want it to be an isolated moment but rather something that continues and hopefully has a lasting impact.”
The march was highlighted by a series of speeches given by black SU student athletes at Coyne Field.
SU football player, Chris Elmore talked about his personal experiences facing police brutality.
“Growing up in Chicago, I experienced police brutality early,” Elmore said. “Just being discriminated against because I fit the description. Big, Black male with tattoos and dreads. That’s the description, I actually had two cousins killed by police two different times. One of my big cousins and his mom both got choked out by the police. One was in the police station where there’s actual film of the police actually choking them out. It’s horrifying. Just experiencing things like that as a Black male, they’re scary, because we see the stories every day. A regular traffic stop can end in a tragedy.”
Elmore’s status as a student athlete allowed him to avoid one of these common tragedies.
“One time, I got stopped by an officer for speeding,” Elmore said. “And I actually told him I was coming from my coach’s house, gave him my coach’s name, and he let me off with a warning. And it was just seeing the different sides of it, like if I wasn’t a student athlete, that outcome could have changed for me.”
SU men’s lacrosse goaltender Nate McPeak spoke about his desire to see change in America.
“I will refuse to accept that my future children will go through the same things that I have gone through,” said McPeak. “I refuse to accept that our country cannot change. I choose to accept that each and every one of you will use their talents and use their skills to do things better in life. And I know for a fact that each and every one of you will do that exact thing.”
During the march, each student athlete wore a t-shirt with the slogan “One Orange” inscribed on the front. On the back read: “committed, we stand on the side of respect and equality.”