Louisville men’s basketball coach Chris Mack and players David Johnson, Charles Minlend and Malik Williams gave speeches calling for unity, tolerance and equality on Friday, two days after a grand jury in the city decided to not move forward with charges against any police officers for their roles in the death of Breonna Taylor.
The Louisville Courier Journal reports that, after the speeches, Mack and his players led Cardinals athletes and others in a peaceful march from Cardinal Stadium to Throws Field and back. The march lasted 45 minutes. Friday marked the 121st day of protests in Louisville, Kentucky, following Taylor’s death.
Keep fighting for change. pic.twitter.com/OIVzLaRSbU
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) September 26, 2020
Taylor, a Black woman, was killed when she was shot during a police raid on her apartment on March 13.
Williams grew emotional while addressing the crowd, according to the Courier Journal.
“Over the past three years, I’ve come to love the city of Louisville. Louisville has become home. Louisville is family,” Williams said. “I love the ‘Ville with all my heart. That’s why I share my deepest condolences with the Taylor family.
“It breaks my heart to hear the situation and the tragedy that Breonna went through. And to not see justice be served, it is time to take a stand. It is time to take a stand against police brutality and social injustice against the Black community.”
Minlend, a transfer from San Francisco, told the crowd that being Black and living in America is “very terrifying.”
“There’s a lot that we want to change, and we want to change it all today,” he said. “I’m going to be honest: Once this march is over, I’m pretty sure we’re still going to have a lot of problems. There’s still going to be racism. There’s still going to be a lot of things we’re going to have to deal with. But the truth is today we can take a step in the right direction.”
During the march, the crowd chanted, “Breonna Taylor” and “No justice, no peace,” the paper reported.
“Just seeing the group and hearing the voices echo for Breonna Taylor, in the name of justice, in the name of fighting for democracy, it was just great to see everyone from different backgrounds,” Williams told the Courier Journal. “It was awesome.”
Williams later thanked everyone who participated via Twitter.
WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE! THIS WAS ONLY THE START! Thank you to all who supported us with the march, even those who could not make it. It’s Love 🖤 we have to get rid of stigmas, discrimination, racism and hate! Extremely grateful for this eye opening experience. pic.twitter.com/pa1QX1TCx3
— Malik Williams5️⃣ (@leek_willi) September 26, 2020
As the Cardinals’ coach, Mack said that Friday was a proud day for him, and he knows he needs to do his part.
“I understand as a white guy, a white 50-year-old, that Black America is hurting,” Mack said. “And in order for Black America to not hurt, white people have got to get involved — older white people.”