This all started as an immediate thought between me and two Nor’easter football teammates, Jeremy Diaz and Cobey Johnson — a plan to skip practice one Thursday in light of the recent shootings and killings of African American men and women by police. After Coach Lichten got word about our intention to skip practice, we texted about it, and with the coach’s full support, we concluded that instead of just skipping practice, we should do something bigger and much more organized.
That led to the entire team not practicing. In lieu of practice, I organized an open conversation about the situation in society today with the murders of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, etc. and the negative societal views that African Americans are defined by. There are disgusting stigmas and stereotypes that African Americans live with every day, and they have been so effective that people get killed over them. We then agreed to have everyone who wanted to help organize an on-campus march to stay after and help with flyers, posters, and getting the word out.
While organizing, I felt it was important to focus this march on the individual. Social media, news outlets, and the BLM organization itself spread its message very effectively. The movement is good and all, but I wanted this march to be different than that and to have a slightly different meaning. I asked of all the participants to think about why they were personally there. Why are you here? Why are you attending? What do you want to get out of this? The event was much more successful than I thought it would be, and I don’t think I would be able to speak in front of 500+ people if it was about any other topic.
I am glad it happened the way it did, and I am not going to stop taking steps.
Julian Connerton ’22
Sports and Recreation Management
Egg Harbor City, N.J.