While many Gators' players and coaches have spoken out in great lengths for the 'Black Lives Matter' cause in the wake of the tragic slaying of Minnesota resident George Floyd, Florida Gators shooting guard Scottie Lewis took it to another level on Friday by leading a protest of his own.
"Violence will not solve a thing. It will only cause more chaos. In the world that we living and the community that we grew up in, we must not destroy, we must build up, we must strategize, we must educate ourselves, find the root of the problem and destroy it," Lewis preached to nearly 2,000 people who attended the rally he organized. "This is about the people."
Lewis and his group, PeaceByU organized a peaceful protest in his hometown of Asbury Park (NJ.) on Friday afternoon in an effort to unite and spread awareness towards social injustice, police brutality, and to give those without a voice reassurance of hope.
"We the people need to focus on what really matters. Starting with the core which is The process of rewriting history and creating a new norm that is directed towards spreading peace love and positivity. ALL ARE WELCOMED. ALL ARE LOVED.
"What we are trying to accomplish it’s not an overnight task it will take constant action, uncomfortable conversations, and more people who are willing to sacrifice in order to serve for [the] greater good. Please join us in this protest and spread the word. 'United we stand, divided we will fall'," Lewis and the organization stated on Facebook when calling protestors to action.
During the protest, many police officers and protestors kneeled in solidarity in an effort to bring the community closer together. With the amount of hate in the world, Lewis hopes to bring people together to get a better understanding, and not necessarily end racism and hate "full-stop", but to bring light to the issues involving his community and other black communities in America deal with.
Lewis' group originally formed to help with those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but recently shifted focus in order to reflect the on-going protests of unjust killings and racism which has been an issue in America for generations.
Lewis' protest came on the same day an organization-led march was conducted by the Jacksonville Jaguars' organization, the first organization-wide protest by an NFL team to ever be conducted. In the Jacksonville community, many were impacted by the notion and it will hopefully lead to change, similar to what Lewis was leading on Friday.
Lewis will return to the Gators for his sophomore season in 2020-21, and Gators basketball players will be able to return to the facility for training on June 19th. Football players were allowed back on Friday.