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Friday, August 28, 2020

Hundreds of KU athletes, coaches, supporters stage Black Lives Matter march across campus Friday afternoon

Kansas basketball junior Emma Merriweather led the pack during Friday's march, which came about when Merriweather and her teammates met Thursday to talk about what they could do to fight for social justice.

Kansas basketball junior Emma Merriweather led the pack during Friday's march, which came about when Merriweather and her teammates met Thursday to talk about what they could do to fight for social justice.

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An emotional conversation inside the Kansas women’s basketball locker room on Thursday turned into a Black Lives Matter march of nearly 1,000 KU athletes, administrators, coaches and supporters on KU’s campus Friday.

“Our players deserve all the credit,” KU women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider said after the march. “Because they’re the ones who requested that we have a meeting. It was obvious once the discussion started that practice and workouts were not at all going to be the priority for that day.”

Schneider, who described Thursday’s conversation as “very heavy and very deep,” said the march was just one of the ideas born from Thursday’s team meeting. And he added that he was beyond impressed with how quickly his team and the university worked together to pull it off.

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Former KU track athlete Matt Anyiwo, who graduated in 2018, joined Friday's march and was one of several people who addressed the large gathering of KU athletes, coaches, administrators and staff members who participated in the march across campus for social justice.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of our players for expressing themselves and using their platform and voice,” Schneider said.

KU junior Emma Merriweather, who led the pack and was credited with helping start the conversation within the women’s basketball program, said she was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout, especially considering the march unfolded on short notice.

It also took place on the 57-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the march on Washington in 1963.

Merriweather said the Jayhawks did not know the significance of the date when they organized Friday’s march. But she chalked up the timing to things “happening for a reason.”

“A lot of things that he dreamed about are things we’re still fighting for and we can’t let that fight die,” KU women’s basketball assistant coach Damitria Buchanan told the crowd Friday. “You guys have a platform and every single last one of you should use your social media accounts to promote the message of unity.”

Marching for equality, peace and justice, athletes and representatives from all of KU’s athletic programs met at 1 p.m. Friday at Stouffer Place Apartments on the south end of campus and marched to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

“This peaceful march today was powerful,” KU Athletic Director Jeff Long told the crowd gathered at the stadium at the end of the march. “We have our chancellor here. We have our provost here. This doesn’t happen everywhere. And it happened like a fire hitting flash paper because these women had the courage to stand up and take action. “Without them, we’d still be talking about what we should do.”

The march, which featured chants, signs and honks and from cars passing by, traveled down Naismith Drive in front of Allen Fieldhouse, up the hill to KU’s main campus, across Jayhawk Boulevard and back down to the football stadium past The Oread Hotel.

Administrators and coaches tried to enforce social distancing practices by separating the crowd into small groups at different stops along the way. But as the march progressed it grew, with students just getting out of class joining the walk.

Liz Thomas, a freshman from Olathe, was one of those students and she was so moved that she grabbed the microphone at the stadium.

“This is my fifth day on campus and I don’t know anyone,” Thomas said. “But it felt really good to jump into something that means so much to so many people.”

It took nearly an hour for the final participants to file into Memorial Stadium, where students, administrators, coaches and members of the campus police department took turns addressing the crowd on a megaphone.

And while the march itself was significant in that it showed athletes in action, the words and reasons behind it meant more to those who participated.

“When we (started marching), I knew how many people were there,” Merriweather said. “But I was in the front and when we got out here on the field I just kept seeing more and more people come. It was just crazy.”

Asked about the conversations she and her teammates had on Thursday, Merriweather, like others on Friday, said the march was just the beginning.

“Just how it affects us, the things that we want out of it and what comes after we march,” she said. “This is not going to be the whole thing. If this is what we’re going to do, we have to keep going and it can’t be a one-and-done thing.”

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

Comments

Dane Pratt 3 months ago

Wow, 57 years. Progress has been painfully slow.

Michael Leiker 3 months ago

Gotta give Jeff Long credit he never misses an opportunity for making a buck or exploiting a situation to help recruiting.

Trace Stark 3 months ago

Wow... breathtaking. tRump approves of your message.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

You mean the guy who has helped usher in the lowest black unemployment ever? The guy who has brought jobs and companies back to the US? The guy who has helped wages rise significantly over these last 4 years? The guy who did more for minorities in this country than Obama did in 8 years of setting us back 100 years by driving the race narrative? Is this whom you're referring?

James Hubin 3 months ago

Disinformation is destroying this country from the inside out. According to the Economic Policy Institute Black unemployment in Michigan went from 7% in Q1 2020 to 35.5% in Q2 this year. Those jobs aren't coming back tomorrow.

Chris, I have a really good deal on some oceanfront property in Western Kansas. We should definitely discuss this opportunity.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

You're gonna talk about 2020? Really? That's what you're gonna do? When CLEARLY the pandemic caused those job losses! You think ANY PRESIDENT could've foretold that? Remember what the Dems were doing in January? Oh yes trying to impeach 45. Then when he placed travel bans on China they called him racist and xenophobic. So don't politicize this if you don't want to look like a hypocrite. You can't have it both ways. From the time he took office until the pandemic Unemployment was at AN ALL TIME LOW for Blacks and Hispanics, period. Don't skew the data to fit your leftist narrative it makes you look like you hate him just because he's not a democrat. And it also makes it look like you want him to fail. If that's true shame on you! And yes you're correct disinformation is destroying the country. When you take the stats and skew them to make it look like something never happened that's misinformation. It's sad that the left continually plays this game. It's sad that for 4 years all we've heard is them whining incessantly. Get over it.

James Hubin 3 months ago

So many words, but no facts. The fact is Obama took the national black unemployment from 16.8% down to 7.9%, Trump took it from 8% to 5.5% and now back up to 14.6%. You can rant and regurgitate Fox propaganda, but those numbers are factual.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

Obama started with the great recession! Again, you're taking skewed data! So when Trump turns it around after the pandemic can I then say he went from 35% down to 5 or wherever that number drops to? I love it when liberals use their buzz words, like, Fox News. You really lose the argument when you do that. The FACT is there and Trump dropped unemployment to an ALL TIME LOW, PERIOD!

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

And just to add to that what you're doing is dividing the country. That's all the left has done since Obama took office. They spiked the football for 8 years and now all they do is cry foul. I'm so tired of it. You know your friends and neighbors, though you may not know it, are conservatives. And we are good people. The fact that the left continues to allow things to rip this country apart tells me all I need to know about that ideology. It's a complete shame.

James Hubin 3 months ago

You got one thing right, Obama started with the great depression that W. Bush got us into.

Biden will start with the Trump recession.

Clinton started with H.W. Bush recession.

I'm starting to notice a pattern here, maybe Republicans aren't actually that good with the economy and only seem to care about deficits if a Democrat, or as you would say "leftist" is in office.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

You've clearly spent four years at an institute of higher learning and allowed the liberal professors to indoctrinate you with their beliefs. These people that spent no time in the private sector and teach "theory" on everything. I'm not quite sure how you give Clinton a pat on the back for what he did. Without Newt Gingrich and the republican lead house he never comes close to balancing the budget. See when democrats take office the first thing the do is raise taxes and make government bigger. It's funny when we talk about the government in general terms no one trusts them but when you define a party all of the sudden they can do no wrong. If you really believe all this then I can't help you. Every President we've ever had has done good things and bad things. Obama is a globalist and I do not agree with his politics. He also did nothing to help race relations mostly because he wasn't really a black man with black problems. He's led a privileged life and doesn't have any idea what the average black man goes through. Which is why he truly didn't do anything to help the issue of race in this country. Not because he couldn't but because creating turmoil stirs up his voting base and keeps the issue center stage. You can't throw the great recession solely on Bush either. You can't blame any president for all the wrongs and then they get none of the praise when things go right. The only president I recall that blamed everything on their predecessor and took credit for everything that went right was Obama. Hell he was still taking credit for all the positive things happening in the Trump presidency up until the pandemic hit. You can't have it both ways. Look, you and I can sit down and have a beer and discuss this stuff like men. We won't always agree but I bet if we sat down we'd compromise. Why? Because that's what people do when they want to work out their differences. We aren't as divided as the government tells us we are and we sure aren't as bad off as they say. The biggest problem we have in this country right now is cancel culture pushing each and every issue to the far left and making every thing that conservatives say sound racist. That and that alone will tear this country apart. We are not a perfect nation. Our founding fathers were not perfect. They were men and men have flaws. They did things that if they were alive today they'd certainly regret. But to think that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were in their twenties when they coauthored the constitution is baffling to me. A document that has stood the test of time. It has allowed us to debate each and everything over these last nearly 250 years. We live in the greatest country on earth and yes we still have some work to do but we've come a long way and I'm pretty proud to live in a nation that we can air our feelings out and still shake hands in the end. Like the great Dennis Miller said, don't allow politicians into your life.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

They aren't worth it. They don't matter. Don't allow them to divide us because at the end of the day they truly don't matter and we only do when our vote counts. Just some food for thought. Another thing. I wonder what would happen if we dropped the party affiliation with candidates? Would it matter as much? Would we be more likely to vote on the issues and on the merit of a person? I hope this at least made you think, it clearly did me. I yield because truly I don't hate people so losing an argument is not the worst thing We both know that there are rights and wrongs. Have a good evening sir and Rock Chalk.

James Hubin 3 months ago

Your rant is way longer Trump's daily briefing, which likely just involves coloring books at this point.

I agree that all US Presidents do both good and bad things. But you seem to be projecting by stating that Obama has led a privileged life, Trump more likely falls into the privileged category.

Obama was raised by and single mother and picked himself up by his bootstraps to live the American dream, something I thought you Conservatives wanted everyone to do, yet you seem upset that Obama has reached the highest levels from simple beginnings.

By the way things are going after three and a half years, I wouldn't say Trump has been masterful at handling race relations or the response to the pandemic.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

Why would I be upset because he's bettered himself? Of course that's a good thing. But you missed my point. I don't agree with his globalist agenda. I believe that we take care of our citizens first. We fix what ails our own first. And no he wasn't as well off as Trump but he didn't come from nothing either. Trump has no chance with race relations simply because he is a republican president even though was a democrat until recently. His kids too were dems until recently when the democrats turned too far left. The true liberal is actually more of a conservative today than a democrat TBH. It's obvious you're an educated man and I actually enjoy meeting people who argue politics and don't get nasty. Yeah we may get a dig in but keeping it civil is appreciated. I would be surprised if our list of wants are that different if we truly sat down and put together our political wish list. I enjoy people of all walks of life and welcome other opinions even if I may come off strong at first defending my convictions.

Trace Stark 3 months ago

yep... the Impeached one... tRump.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

I like the cute way you spell the presidents name. Funny thing is I have too much respect for the office to do that. I didn't like Obama's politics but I respect him for being a president. And I'd also be honored to have been invited to his or any democrats White House. But that's just me.

Mallory Briggans 3 months ago

Micheal how is this helping recruiting ? Do you feel that this is a gimmick for that purpose ?

John Smith 3 months ago

All this is fine, but keep it off the field at game time.

W Keith Swinehart II 3 months ago

I like the thought, black lives matter, but so do a few other lives. The "Black Lives Matter" organization , however, is a political movement that is about abolishment of our police, and about disruption of American life. It is NOT about black lives. It is about money!

Mallory Briggans 3 months ago

With all do respect Keith you should do your research about black history back to slavery .Name a race of people that were denied the same rights you have churches burned homes and businesses firebombed ,peaceful protesters beaten and fire hosed just trying to vote .Think about how many blacks that died in war after war before the civil rights legislation in 1964 . They were fighting for your rights and your freedom because they didnt have any .Think about that ....youre fighting to defend a country that hated you . Black men are still getting hung in 2020 .......2020 ................Keith yes I'm black have you ever been pulled over for going 1 mile over the speed limit because i was driving a luxury vehicle that i rented for my trip ,handcuffed questioned ,taken to jail ,detained to give them time to search my rental ,when I was released was told ......well we thought you were a drug dealer......sorry have a nice day There is so much hate in this country ...its not a democrat or republican problem it an American problem ....Hate is taught and its sickening . All men are created equal .........but blacks have never been considered equal therefore their lives dont matter Thats why Blacks Lives Matter came about This country has nothing to be proud about ......I am also part Native American so thats hurts as well .

Keith i have never met you and never will.. but i cant and never will hate you. Money can never replace all the senseless lives lost

W Keith Swinehart II 3 months ago

I only know what I have experienced and learned in my 78 years. I can't relate to your experiences, or change history. I feel no hate in me to you or others in my life, although I know "hate" exists. I wish I had the power to end hate and dissension, but I don't.

I'm from Kansas; have lived in New York City, Philadelphia, Nairobi, Munich, Beaufort SC. So I feel that I know something about diversity. I don't honestly "see" color or ethnicity in my daily life. Maybe that's wrong. But I'm comfortable in my skin.

My comment about Black Lives Matter was about the organization, not the ideal. The BLM organizers are Marxists. Their purpose is abolishment of the police and create a revolution. I heard a BLM leader express, in a televised interview, the intent to "burn cities" that don't do as they (BLM) "demand." I see BLM and Antifa, with weapons, involved in every violent protest. I fear the movement will lead to anarchy and destroy the country I love.

I am sorry I have offended you. I have believed that Martin Luther King had set us in a direction to follow. It has been a difficult path to follow. But I do not believe that systemic racism exists in the United States. There is always work to do as cultures intermix. I believe and pray that MLK's work will continue to heal our country.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

Keith,

I know racism exists but I do agree that systemic racism does not exist. In the 78 years you've been alive you have certainly seen a lot of changes with race issues. From the civil rights movement to what is happening today. Yes we still have a small faction of the KKK in this country that no one supports. No one wants them as part of their group or any affiliation with them. I agree that we cannot abolish the police and I honestly don't think all police are bad. Antifa are a bunch of punks that need to stop now. They're going to piss off the wrong people and they're gonna get seriously hurt.

W Keith Swinehart II 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I think that's all I'm saying. I don't want conflict. I want peace for my children, my grandchildren, my friends and everybody else. The U.S.isn't perfect, and there will always be cultural issues. But perfection is pretty hard to achieve. So, let's be realistic and tolerant as is practicable. On the world stage we have always managed pretty well.

Chris Bailey 3 months ago

When you hear actual stories like yours it does put things into perspective. It makes me question things as to why we still have this problem in the US. I guess I see myself as someone who is pretty accepting of everyone until you do something to make me dislike you, color, creed or whatever doesn't matter. I embrace culture. I dearly wish I had friends like you. People I too could learn from. I do think black lives matter but I don't know if that organization has really done what it was intended. It seems it has gone in a different direction. If not then why don't they defend the black lives that die each and every day? That is my only problem with them. But I do understand what you are saying and no I have never been in your situation. I cannot imagine how dehumanizing that was for you and I am truly sorry. It's not right and injustices like that should not happen in this country. I have asked other black men about this before but I never get an answer and yes I think hate is taught. I also think that the fatherless rate in this country, especially in the black community, has had a detrimental effect on the black youth and ultimately men of this country. I absolutely know this isn't all black men nor all black families. And even those families without fathers have wonderful mothers trying to make a difference. We both know that not having a father in our lives to teach us right from wrong and show us discipline. I say this with no malice in my heart. I care for all people and I want the world to be a better place. You are so right that this is not a political issue because racism exists on the right and the left. It exists in every ethnicity hating on other races. Truly we are all created equal and we are all God's children. We need to work together to fix this. One place that never shoulders any of the blame is Hollywood. They, for years, have always portrayed black men as the bad guy. They have made it so we see that on TV day in and day out and yet they take no responsibility for it. Something must change and it's not politics, although I would argue that politicians use race to help or hinder elections. Just as Joe Biden said "You ain't black if you don't vote for me". That's not how we should be thinking in this country. Honestly, I wish we would drop the party from behind politicians names that way they could tell us how they felt on an issue and not have to simply side with their party. Sorry I got a little off the main topic. Mallory, I have never met you but I dearly hope someday I do! Black lives do matter and you most definitely matter to me sir! We seriously need to wipe racism out in this country so it's no longer an issue and after that make it a goal to wipe it out world wide. Appreciate the eye opening post, truly. Thank you.

Dane Pratt 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I wish we would drop the party from behind politicians names that way they could tell us how they felt on an issue and not have to simply side with their party. Best idea ever!

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