On Thursday, Royce White sent a text message to a few athletes and friends from Minneapolis to gather folks for a peaceful demonstration against the killing of George Floyd. The next day, a few friends turned into a few thousand people in the streets, with White leading demonstrators from downtown Minneapolis to Interstate 35 and back to the Minnesota Vikings’ Stadium.
White, a Minneapolis native and a former NBA player, used his loudspeaker to speak to demonstrators on multiple occasions throughout the protest.
“When we started this at the U.S. Bank [Stadium]” he said to thousands of people kneeling on a highway, “it was just a couple of athletes that wanted to go to the front lines.”
But word spread quickly.
In the video above, you can hear White continue to say, “We didn’t have a Facebook event, we didn’t want people that might do something dangerous and violent. And the word of mouth worked… We have successfully proved we can protest in peace despite all the stories they have shown on the news.”
White takes issue with national news outlets only showing looting and fires despite the large number of peaceful demonstrations nationwide, like the one he led on Friday.
Today, White is again set to lead another march in Minneapolis. The march is called, “The 10K March ‘No Bail.’”
One of the goals of this demonstration is to fight for “no bail” for Derek Chauvin, the officer charged in Floyd’s murder.
White and other demonstrators have encouraged attendants to make signs saying, “no bail.”
Another goal of the demonstration is to pay tribute to ousted NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
“In support of our brother George Floyd,” the digital event sign says, “we will follow the lead of Colin Kaepernick and kneel in silence at various locations.”
White made a name for himself on the basketball court at Iowa State. And although he only played one season in the NBA, his activism around the issue of mental health helped him garner attention off the court.
Last year, White returned to basketball, playing in the Big 3.
Today, Royce White returns to the Minneapolis streets he grew up on. Like thousands of others across the country, he plans to peacefully march for justice.