COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
Players, coaches, and staff across Missouri's athletic department marched alongside the MU community to bring awareness to social injustices in America on Wednesday evening.
The march started at MU's columns and ended at Faurot Field, where the leaders of the event staged a sit-in and shared their own stories.
Thousands of marchers showed up to the event. The president of the Missouri Black Student Athlete Association said he could not describe what it felt like to see that many people supporting their effort.
"Seeing how wide our Mizzou family can reach. I mean, Mizzou, the black and gold, is bigger than I've ever imagined apparently," said Cason Suggs, a Missouri track and field junior. "People from all walks off life showed up and to see that with my own eyes, it warms my heart."
During the sit-in, the organizers of the event shared their stories and why this march was important right now.
"Who am I? Yes I am a scholar. Yes I am an athlete. But before anything, I am a black woman," said MU soccer's Keiarra Slack. "I wake up black. I go to sleep black. I go to class black. I breath in this black skin. I go to practice in this black skin. I was blessed to have this platform as a student athlete and I believe that I should use it in a way that will positively affect those around me."
Meanwhile, MU track and field's Atina Kamasi has only been in America for four years. The Serbia-native said she still believes it is important for her to fight.
"Why are you fighting for a country that you are not from? I've been here for four years and this country means a lot to me," she said. "When I wake up in the morning and see those things on the TV and see friend standing by my side, why wouldn't I want to stand by their side?"
The march was not the first time the Missouri athletic community shed light on social injustices.
On Friday, the Missouri football team decided to sit out practice so the team could have conversations about social injustice in America.
Suggs said being an athlete has changed his life and its something the Columbia community and even the nation can bring into their own lives.
"A mentor of mine told me once that sports are also like a small example, a diorama, of life," he said. "We go through the highest of highs, these victories, and we go through the lowest of lows. We go through heartache we go through heartbreak. We go through bonding moments. I think that coming in as athletes we may see that at a higher level than someone who may not be in athletics."