Once the site of intense racial unrest, the University of Missouri (MU) campus took on a different air on June 3 when university system President Mun Choi, athletics staff, and campus police joined more than 60 members of the football team in a march to protest the recent murder of George Floyd.
Head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz organized the march from the MU campus to the local county courthouse. Once there, the team knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the approximate length of time that Floyd was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer.
The protest had a unique ending, with 62 of the players then registering to vote at the courthouse.
Drinkwitz later tweeted that demanding justice for Floyd was about human rights, not politics, and that the registration of 62 new voters was indicative that “[c]hange will happen.”
The university gained national attention in 2015-2016 when students held multiple campus protests — including a boycott by the football team — after a string of racist incidents, resulting in the ouster of university leaders and a significant reduction in Black student enrollment.●
Mariah Bohanon is the senior editor of INSIGHT Into Diversity. This article was published in our July/August 2020 issue.