University of Tennessee student-athletes Vanessa Watson, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Smith and Trey Smith organized March on My Campus here in Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend. Student-athletes, staff, coaches and fellow Vols from all over came out to show support.
“I think there has been a lot of Black trauma and pain that has been displayed on the news and social media, and what people do after they see these things is go back and forget,” Watson said. “Things become a trending hashtag for a week and people go back to their normal lives and routines. The purpose of this march today is to make sure people don’t forget again, that we keep the conversation going.”
This isn’t the first time Watson has been a part of the movement. This past summer in June the New York native assembled a group to call out police brutality in Rochester. “There has been a lot of energy with everything that’s going on and has been going on, what we wanted to do today was combine that energy and direct it in a safe place at the same time.” She added, “I wasn’t really sure what to expect, [but] we were going to march whether we had 10 people or 1,000. It was great to see how much support there was today.”
Brooklynn Broadwater, also student athlete at UT, said, “This march honestly means more to me than anybody could ever put into words, we want change. I think this march will help push things in the right direction; the more we speak up and out, the better.”
The March started at the Torchbearer’s statue and ended on The Hill.