Thousands of people gathered in front of the state capitol building in Lincoln Saturday morning for the NOT ONE MORE LIFE. March. The Lincoln Police Department helped to block off intersecting streets as marchers made their way from K Street down Centennial Mall to the Nebraska State Historical Society building nearly a mile away, and then back to the steps of the capitol.
Kieron Williams, the event’s organizer and former Nebraska football safety, led chants of “No Justice, No Peace” that later became “Just, And Peace.” The group also chanted the names of Black Americans who have been killed by members of police departments across the country, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The chants were also in honor of Omaha resident James Scurlock, who was shot and killed in the Old Market by a bar owner.
Former teammates of Williams’, like Tommy Armstrong Jr., Jerald and Trey Foster, and Tanner Farmer, took part in the march, as did one current member of the University of Nebraska’s leadership.
The mission of the rally, according to its Facebook page: to enhance community-police relations by increasing transparency and accountability within the police system and the community in terms of their efforts to work together to create new programs/policies that combat social injustice.
People began gathering at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Around 10 a.m., a moment of silence was held before Ron Brown, a former Nebraska football assistant coach and current director of player development, gave a sermon to the group.
Shortly after, former Husker quarterback Eric Crouch addressed the crowd.
This is his full speech:
“I am here because our Black community is hurting. Black lives matter. Black lives matter to me. I’ve got a lot of friends, and all their lives matter. Right now the movement that’s happening is incredible. And I want to be part of it.
“My mom always told me that actions speak louder than words. Words are easy to say, it’s easy to say ‘I want to do this,’ or ‘I’m going to do that,’ but to really go out and do the things you say you’re going to do, how many people do that? It’s hard. But the people that do, you respect.
“My daughter recently said to me, ‘Dad, what are you going to say?’ I never really thought about what I was going to say. ‘You have a platform.’ I never really thought about having a platform. That’s not who I am, I don’t think that way, I don’t think, ‘I’ve got a platform, I’ve got to say these things,’ about anything. But I think the Holy Spirit is here, it’s working. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the souls of people. I believe we can change things if we put our minds to it.
“I’m here to encourage you all to make a difference. Whether that’s at the dinner table with your own family, your own children. Whether its publicly with people you don’t know. Whether it’s your family, your extended family, when you hear something that just isn’t right, say something. That’s the problem.
“I’ve been guilty of that. I’d be a liar if I stood up here and said I haven’t been guilty of that. I’m sure there’s a few others here today, too, but we’re here to change. We’re here to make ourselves better, our community better.
“What a great place to do it right out here in front of the capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“I love Kieron for putting this on. Love Ron Brown. I’ve got a lot of love for people. Like I said, I believe in the spirit, but you’ve got to go deep today. Go deep until you really understand how you can make a difference. You might be thinking ‘I never really thought how I could make a difference.’ Just sit down and by yourself think how can you make a difference, what can you do? It might not come to you right away but you’ve got to keep coming back to it.
“I want to see policies change. I want to get with community leaders. I haven’t done that yet, but I will.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s not easy for me to get up here today. On the other side it’s really easy for me to get up (here) today and support the community, support why we’re here. (We’re) supporting change, supporting everybody that can help us make a difference in our communities and the world.
“Imagine the things you can say to your kids, your loved ones, and what they’re going to go say to people. It does start at home. You can make a difference in your children's’ lives—you really can—and then they make a difference in other people’s lives.
“I’m so excited just to be able to talk to you guys today. I just want to close these remarks by saying I believe in you. Believe in me. I know we can make a difference together. I feel something’s coming. If you can’t feel something’s coming, then you’re looking the wrong way. All of us together, God bless, let’s take a walk.”
Williams talked about the need for policy reform. The need to channel energy into lasting action, “otherwise we’re just burning calories.” He also read a poem to the crowd, which you can hear a portion of below.
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