Ohio University student athletes rallied against racial injustice at the Courthouse steps in Athens. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB].

OU Athletes BLM Protest: “Racism Is Also A Big Pandemic”

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — As the pandemic enters its fifth month, anti-racial protests resist dying out in Athens. A group of about thirty student athletes from Ohio University summoned a ‘Peaceful Protest at the Courthouse‘ for Saturday, August 8 at noon.

“We’re here today to show support with our Black teammates and other athletes,”  says Maggie Nedoma, a volleyball athlete, “America needs to do better with them, systemically.”

Some thirty student athletes from the Bobcats for Change organization staged a peaceful protest in uptown Athens. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB].
Nedoma is part of Bobcats Lead Change, the organization that lead the protest and that is comprised of  around forty people from track, basketball, volleyball, football, and other sports in Ohio University, as well as coaches and directors. Their aim is to use their voices against racial injustice.

An OU athlete holds an anti-racism sign during the peaceful protest summoned at noon. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB].
“For four hundred plus years people of color have been oppressed,” says sophomore student and football player Nigel Drummond, while holding a sign in the protest. “We use our voices to change this and just to let people know that our skin color is not a threat. We’re just like the rest of you guys, just a different skin color.”

Bobcats Lead Change has been organizing rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement amid the pandemic. This is their fifth protest in Athens city.

Basketball player and one of the organizers, Kaylee Bambule, says that they continue protesting because they want to make sure that the message still gets out. “This is a small town, so we want to make sure that people here know this is still a problem.”

Bambule underscores that the protests are just on part of the job that Bobcats Lead Change do. “Our group is doing a lot more than just protesting. We’re making sure that we’re a getting people to vote,” but mainly educating people is their goal “as we’re at a campus full of a lot of white Americans.”

OU athletes from the organization ‘Bobcats lead Change’ aim to educate students and community members in Athens. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB].
This rally had to be rescheduled due to rain, but the athletes said nothing will stop them from using their platform to amplify the voices of Black Americans and Black people, not even Covid-19.

“Obviously we have a big pandemic going, but racism is also a big pandemic in the United States,” says Drummond who like the other athletes wears a mask and is social distancing “to let people know that black lives matter, today, tomorrow and forever.”