Aamir Simms says he will be at Saturday’s “Unity Walk” in Clemson and he is excited to see how many of Clemson’s loyal followers will join him and other Clemson athletes in their peaceful protest in hopes to create positive change against racism, social injustice, and police brutality.
“I have never taken Clemson for a prejudice place. I have never experienced anything like that,” Simms said Tuesday morning on the Packer & Durham Show on the ACC Network. “Clemson has always been known for its family atmosphere and that will definitely show this weekend, I think.
“To those that come, I am with them. And to those who don’t or may be scared to, I am still with them. This is the moment where Clemson can show that family atmosphere that you publicly use in recruiting and stuff like that to get players here. And I think it is going to show this weekend that Clemson is going to be behind its players and the people are all behind change.”
Simms has been one of the many Clemson athletes who has been very active on social media, asking for change, conversation and understanding about what’s going in America, especially after the horrific death of George Floyd on May 25. The Tigers’ All-ACC forward says athletes using their platform to help change and educate people on social injustice is important more than ever right now.
“People know I have been very active on social media and bringing awareness and how to get others involved, those that are not as active or being verbal about it by how to get involved with petitions and what not,” Simms said.
“I think in this time specifically, I have heard more people stepping up and speaking out,” he continued. “More people go to Twitter and Instagram and bring awareness to everything that is going on and to those that try to shy away from it. Everyone that kind of has that platform and can talk, is talking. I think that is what needs to happen and I think this is the time we have seen the most athletes ever in my lifetime speak up about a certain topic that is very uncomfortable for others. This is definitely the moment where a lot of athletes feel impowered to do that.”
That is why Simms says he is supporting DeAndre Hopkins’ and Deshaun Watson’s petition to remove the name of former United States Vice President John C. Calhoun (1825-’32) from the Honors College at Clemson. Calhoun was a known supporter of slavery when he was in office.
Simms also supports the petition to remove Ben Tillman’s name from Tillman Hall on campus. Tillman, a United States Senator (1895-1918) and former Governor of South Carolina (1890-’94), was known as a white supremacist in his day and was actively against allowing black Americans any civil rights.
The All-ACC forward mentioned how seeing the names of Tillman and Calhoun at Clemson have always been offensive to him and others on campus.
“So, for me to kind of see things brought to the table and what Clemson has been publicly displaying and to see that it is finally being talked about and change being talked about, it is really confident for me and other people of color that attend Clemson,” Simms said. “Even if it is the past, it is still in our face every day and seeing people stepping up about it and wanting to make change is really important for us and our program, our school and to see people actually stepping up is really [good].”
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