University of Memphis athletes, staff march in protest of police brutality

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Memphis community came together to peacefully march in protest of police brutality on Sunday morning.

Student athletes were joined by university staff saying they want to do their part to break through racial barriers.

Hundreds of people gathered before marching across campus.

The marchers were escorted by police on bicycles and cruisers through residential neighborhoods, heading to the University of Memphis bridge.

It’s the same path several African American students took decades ago, forever changing the campus when they became the first students of color, known as the Memphis State Eight.

Bertha Rogers Looney was one of the original eight students who desegregated the school 61 years ago.

“What I did learn from those years, those difficult years is that I can live with all people,” Looney said. “If my goal is to succeed and have purpose, then I am going to stay focused on that particular goal.”

Tigers’ quarterback Brady White says the demonstration was to spread a message of hope.

“It was really special for everyone to kind of join forces and lock arms to support one another and come do this…,” White said.

The students who took part said they did what they needed to do in order to fuel the momentum.

“I think it’s important to lead by example not just as a football player but as an athlete in general,” White said. “…You have a little bit more of a voice.”

Organizers say talks about the peaceful protest began Thursday and word quickly spread. Roughly 300 people participated in the protest.

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