Mikes Jones, Jr., knew in his heart it was time for him to do something. It was time for him to speak up. So, Clemson’s linebacker did.
With help of his teammates, such as wide receiver Cornell Powell, reserve running back Darien Rencher and quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Jones began the organization of a Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration that will be held Saturday from 6-8 p.m., at Bowman Field at Clemson University.
“I felt like my heart was really reaching for me to do something,” Jones said Thursday during a Zoom conference call with the media. “We came together kind of at the perfect time. We got to work and our whole [coaching] staff was behind us. Obviously, the community is behind us and I just feel like it was something we had to do.”
Led by Jones, members of the Clemson Football team came up with the idea last week, wanting to show how they are standing together and wanting to educate others on the struggles they go through on a daily basis as black Americans in hopes of preventing another horrific death, such as the one George Floyd suffered on May 25. They hope Saturday’s peaceful protest will create positive change against racism, social injustice, and police brutality.
After presenting the idea to the rest of the team, the players addressed it with head coach Dabo Swinney and the staff and later worked with the city of Clemson and Clemson University to bring the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration to life.
“Basically, we want to get our message out that we want equality in everything that we do, especially as a black community and to stop police brutality,” Powell said. “It is really sad to see some of the videos and hear some of the stories. But I feel like with this peaceful march, that we are going to have Saturday, is really going to bring the community together and really do justice for us.”
Since George Floyd’s death, and all the rallies and protests that have followed, Jones says a lot of his white friends and acquaintances, people he has not spoken to since he was in middle school, have reached out to him and talked to him about everything that is going on. He said they have had good conversations and he has been able to communicate with them the struggles he and other black Americans go through on a daily basis.
“The main thing with my conversations is to let people know that, although we see these things on TV, it could be very real to us,” Jones said. “I have had situations happen in my family. I have personally told them about my fears, my struggles.
“I feel a lot of times it is not really addressed with people you are close with. You see it on social media, and you know it is wrong, but it will hit you different if your best friend has been going through something and it has never been brought up. The conversations have been hard at times, but I feel like hard conversations is how you make change and how you bring attention to some things even if you do not want to talk about them.”
Jones and organizers of the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration ask that those coming to Clemson on Saturday please wear a black shirt, practice social distancing, wear a facemask to cover the nose and mouth and to bring plenty of water.
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