Florida’s Scottie Lewis organizes successful march protesting police brutality, social injustice

By Adam Silverstein
June 6, 2020
Florida’s Scottie Lewis organizes successful march protesting police brutality, social injustice
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators rising sophomore guard Scottie Lewis has goals beyond the basketball court, and actions he took over the last few days in Asbury Park, New Jersey, indicate that his mind goes far beyond the game. Lewis, a 20-year-old rising star for the Gators, has started “PeaceByU,” an organization that aims to promote “peace, love and positivity” — and he kicked it off in a major way.

On Friday, Lewis led a group of more than 2,000 peaceful protesters — with the cooperation of the Asbury Park Police Department — on a two-hour Masked March that included a number of chants and speeches all aimed at spreading awareness about social injustice and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Floyd was in police custody over Memorial Day weekend in Minneapolis when a now-former police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, leading to his death. That ex-cop has been charged with second-degree murder, and three others at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Saturday will mark the 12th straight day of nationwide protests.

“This is a PEACEFUL protest to unite and Spread awareness towards Police brutality, social injustice, and to give the people who feel silenced a voice and reassurance of hope,” Lewis wrote in an Instagram post ahead of the event. “… 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 greater good.”

Rutgers basketball players and some of Lewis’ former high school teammates joined him on the march, which proceeded despite it being held on a rainy day. In the end, members of the APPD knelt alongside protesters in a march that was seen as a massive success throughout the community.

“We are one race,” Lewis told the crowd, according to the Asbury Park Press. “We have to come together. We have to educate ourselves.”

“We definitely understand that this is just a symbol, and it’s not our ending,” he told the paper directly. “There needs to be certain steps that need to be taken for there to be any kind of momentum in a positive direction.”

Lewis will return to Florida for his sophomore season after initially considering but ultimately deciding not to enter his name in the 2020 NBA Draft. He averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in his first year at UF but broke out in a major way over the final four games of the regular season

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