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Athletes support Black Lives Matter

Members+of+the+Chico+State+community+gather+in+front+of+Kendall+Hall+during+a+silent+protest.+Photo+credit%3A+Royal+T+Lee-Castine
Members of the Chico State community gather in front of Kendall Hall during a silent protest. Photo credit: Royal T Lee-Castine

Members of the Chico State community gather in front of Kendall Hall during a silent protest. Photo credit: Royal T Lee-Castine

Members of the Chico State community gather in front of Kendall Hall during a silent protest. Photo credit: Royal T Lee-Castine

Cydney Nance

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Jalen McFerren said he would like to continue being an example of unity on campus and bring awareness to injustices and attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.

McFerren is a junior shooting guard for the Chico State men’s basketball team and is among several Wildcat athletes attempting to use their high visibility to influence change in the community.

The Black Faculty and Staff Association participated in the national event to stay at home Sept. 26 as a form of protest to the recent shootings involving unarmed citizens and police officers.

Junior forward on the men’s soccer team Rajaee DeLane participated in the protest by not attending any of his classes and staying home that day.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of us black students on campus but there is and we stick together,” DeLane said. “When I got the text from another black Chico State student, I knew I had to participate.”

The Black Lives Matter organization also made a statement regarding the importance the black community has on the economy.

“Almost every other ethnicity invests in their own businesses. Black people need to make black businesses and invest in them,” DeLane said.

Egypt Howard speaks to the crowd during an awareness rally for Black Lives Matter. Photo credit: Royal T Lee-Castine

Egypt Howard speaks to the crowd during an awareness rally for Black Lives Matter. Photo credit: Royal T Lee-Castine

The Assistant Program Coordinator of the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center Egypt Howard organized a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Several student speakers came forward to share their thoughts about the 194 black men and women that have been killed this year.

#BlackInChico protestors listen on as Tyrell "Rex" Bell, CCLC Pipeline Lead Mentor, commends all attendees for standing in solidarity with all other students, faculty and staff. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

#BlackInChico protestors listen on as Tyrell “Rex” Bell, CCLC Pipeline Lead Mentor, commends all attendees for standing in solidarity with all other students, faculty and staff. Photo credit: Jae Siqueiros

The people of the Chico community also participated in a ten minute moment of silence. McFerren attended the protest to show his support.

“I thought the protest was very beneficial to the community as far as bringing awareness to what is going on in our country and what African Americans have to go through every day,” McFerren said.

Sophomore power forward Marvin Timothy also participated and locked arms in the protest and felt that the event signified the communities support.

“Coming from a predominantly White school, it was very touching to see that they do care about black lives,” Timothy said.

At the end of the protest, Howard said that this event was only the beginning to show more support to its black students.

Members of the community gather during the candlelight vigil and raise candles and phones to show their support. Photo credit: Kayla Fitzgerald

Members of the community gather during the candlelight vigil and raise candles and phones to show their support. Photo credit: Kayla Fitzgerald

The president of the Black Student Union Wal Riek, coordinated a candlelight vigil Sept. 28 to honor those who have lost their lives. A diverse crowd of hundreds of students, faculty and members of the community attended while young black students shared powerful stories.

DeLane was also able to go after practice and encouraged other students to participate.

“Some of my friends were thinking of just going to the gym that night and I told them about the event and to come show support and they did,” DeLane said.

DeLane was inspired and had the urge to speak on stage, however, he said he did not want to interrupt and had nothing prepared.

“I felt a great sense of community at the Candlelight Vigil and I think in the future they should hold events for black students at least once a month,” DeLane said.

Chico State’s effort to spread awareness and support the Black Lives Matter cause has echoed across the community. The athletes on campus have the ability to influence students, faculty and the community heavily as leaders at the university.

McFerren said he thinks the environment of Chico is a perfect place to foster the Black Lives Matter movement.

“As an African-American student-athlete, here at Chico State, I feel that Chico is a safe, supportive, and diverse community,” he said.

To continue supporting the growing Black Lives Matter community on campus, DeLane has become a part of the newly adopted Black Student Union.

He said he also plans to use his platform to speak in a larger scale at these events to support the cause even more.

Vice President of the Black Student Union at Chico State Jerad Prevost said he thinks the support that the Chico State athletes have shown is a driving factor behind the organization’s success.

“We all have busy schedules going on throughout the week, they felt this was necessary and an important matter to even stand in solidarity with us,” Prevost said.

Cydney Nance can be reached at [email protected] or @CydneyNa on Twitter.

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Athletes support Black Lives Matter