On Mar. 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in Louisville, Kentucky, when police officers enacted a no-knock warrant on her apartment. Her death was only brought to light with the murder of George Floyd, and while the officers involved in Floyd’s death were arrested, no officers have been arrested for shooting and killing Taylor. Both deaths have sparked a worldwide Black Lives Matter movement, with many calling for the arrests of the officers involved in Taylor’s shooting, Brett Hankinson, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove.
Some of the biggest supporters for the Black Lives Matter movement have been professional athletes in the NBA and NFL, with them using their platforms to call attention to these issues. Athletes have refused to play, knelt for the National Anthem and met with family members of the victims of police brutality. PCC student-athletes do not have 72 million Instagram followers like LeBron James or microphones from various news outlets, but nevertheless they are still using their voices and making themselves heard across both the school’s community, as well as Pasadena’s community.
“With our team, we had a discussion, and I have a lot of players that are affected by this. A lot of my players are minority players, and it hits close to home,” Steven Mojarro, the head coach of PCC’s football team, said.
The football team has always been vocal about supporting different movements, such as wearing pink for a game during Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Mojarro says that this movement is no different. The season is on pause due to COVID until January of next year, but he says that the team is currently planning how they will show their support for Black Lives Matter when it does start.
Some student athletes have really been impacted by events like Taylor’s death, and are thankful that their teams offer a lot of support.
Cosette Balmy, former women’s basketball player, has felt like she has had to rethink her whole life because of fear that she will face police brutality. However, having her team by her side has given her some comfort.
“Having a team that’s mixed and not being one of the only African American players makes me feel better,” Balmy said. “We’re going through this together. There are people that can actually understand how it feels.”
PCC women’s basketball coach, Zsa Zsa Lawson, is starting a racial equity committee in order to help students get together and learn more about cases like Taylor’s. This committee educates non-black students on the issues and discrimination that black people face in this country, in order to give some perspective into how daily life is like for them.
Rebecca Islas, a current player on the women’s basketball team, is one of those students benefiting from the committee. “I personally don’t know what it feels like, although I am a minority. I joined the committee so I can be more educated and know exactly what it is that’s going on,” Islas said.