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Dixie State University Football Team Organizes Black Lives Matter Protest In St. George

Protestors hold sign at a Black Lives Matter event in St. George, Utah.
Lexi Peery/ KUER News
Protestors kneel on St. George’s main drag joining protests nationwide calling for justice for George Floyd who died at the hands of police officers on Memorial Day. ";

The Dixie State University football program held a team meeting recently — not to discuss plays but to talk about the protests being held nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

That conversation led to a Black Lives Matter rally that attracted several hundred people Thursday night, spilling onto the streets of St. George’s main strip. 

Players and coaches stood on the sidewalk in front of a local restaurant, George’s Corner cafe. They passed out water bottles to fellow protestors while joining in on the chants. 

About one-third of the team’s players are black, according to head coach Paul Peterson. He said the recent conversation among players and coaches was eye opening.

“Being a white male in a leadership position, I haven’t faced some of the racism and seclusion that they’ve felt and so it was hard for me to relate,” Peterson said. “[I thought] standing on the sideline and kind of letting it happen without being an active participant was ok and it’s not. It’s not ok.”

Augustus Fraser is 19 years old and moved to St. George from Los Angeles to play football for DSU. Fraser, who is black, said he’s experienced racial profiling, from people clutching their purses when he walks by to being handcuffed by officers back in LA.

Fraser said going into the protest Thursday night, he wasn’t hopeful about the turnout. However, this is one of the biggest crowds a Black Lives Matter event has gotten in St. George since the death of Floyd. 

“I don’t think the main reason [for this protest] was to be heard necessarily, I think the main reason was to see how many people support the Black Lives Matter movement,” Fraser said looking out over hundreds of protestors chanting.

“I think that’s a really dope part about it, that there’s so many people here and they all support us. You wouldn’t think that in a predominately white city that you know there’d be so many people here right now, but there are," he said.

This was just one of several protests planned for this weekend.

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