Before Saturday’s Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration, most people did not know much about Clemson running back Darien Rencher. After the event, the college football world knows Rencher for his bold stance and powerful words against racial injustice.
The former walk-on helped organize the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration with Clemson teammates Mike Jones Jr., Trevor Lawrence and Cornell Powell, while serving as the mouthpiece for the organizers.
The four men met with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, President Jim Clements and the Clemson Police Department ahead of the event to fight toward common sense solutions for minorities in the city of Clemson and on campus.
“The meeting at Coach Swinney’s house was the first time seeing him in a couple of months, and with everything going on in our country, it was one of the most authentic meetings I have ever been in,” Rencher said to a crowd of more than 3,000 people. “I’ve been here for five years and it was probably my favorite meeting ever because there was so much love.”
Rencher showed those in attendance and the media the significance his voice carries in the program. He told reporters before the event this experience ranked extremely high in his time as a Tiger.
“This is definitely toward the top, Mike and I were talking that this feels like getting ready for a game. This is validation that we are doing something we are proud of,” Rencher said. “It feels good to have so much support from the university and it is definitely up there towards the top.”
The Anderson, S.C., native conveyed the importance of grace in educating people on the racial inequality in our country as well as the necessity of striving toward unity when many are so divided on pivotal issues.
“People are just waiting on somebody to do something and when you create spaces and have conversations people are ready to talk,” Rencher said. “A lot of people want to come together, people are hurting and need to be heard, others need to be educated because of their upbringing and there needs to be grace for that too.”
Saturday will be a topic of conversation for years to come in the Clemson Community and change has already happened in the removal of John C. Calhoun’s name from the honors college and request to reclaim the original name of Tillman Hall by the board of trustees.
But if the demonstration this past weekend is any indicator, Darien Rencher and these players are just getting started.
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