Mike Jones’ hand was shaking as he tried to hold his emotions back Saturday as he addressed the large crowd during the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration March in Clemson.
“You got this Mike,” yelled many of the supporters who listened to every word the Clemson linebacker said.
As he looked at the estimated crowd of 3,000 people, Jones said to them, “Today I have hope.”
“Two months ago, if somebody would have asked me that we could get a diverse group like this to come together and talk about issues facing the black community, I would not have thought it was possible,” Jones said. “I have not seen it my whole life. As a young black man, I have lived through injustice my whole life. Not only me, but my father and my grandfather and many more before him. But I refuse to let it happen to my son.”
Jones was joined on the stage by his Clemson teammates Darien Rencher and Cornell Powell, as well as a couple of Clemson students. The three players, along with their teammates and head coach Dabo Swinney then marched two miles through the campus and downtown Clemson, chanting “Black Lives Matter”, “I can’t breathe” and then “George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”
“That is why we are all gathering here,” Rencher said. “Ultimately, we are not saying all lives do not matter, but as we see, until black lives do, all don’t matter.”
For Jones, it was a touching moment as his dream of getting the Clemson Community to come together in their stance against racial injustice and police brutality came true.
“It feels amazing. I have never really orchestrated stuff. I show up and I go play and that is it,” Jones said. “But to have the ability to even do something like this makes me appreciate my university, my community because there are not a lot of places where we can do stuff like this and get stuff and have it done safely and peacefully and get everybody involved.”
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