Thousands attend Harlem protest organized by former URI football player

College

(WPRI) — More than 3,000 people peacefully protested in Harlem on Saturday in the wake of George Floyd’s death ─ something organizer Shawn Antoine II, a University of Rhode Island graduate and Rams football player ─ was proud of.

“It was an opportunity not only to protest what’s going on in the community as far as policing and racism ultimately but an opportunity to bring the community together so we can discuss what we want for the future of Harlem,” Antoine said.

The 23-year-old was on the campus of URI just last year, finishing up his degree in public relations. Now, the filmmaker is a community leader working on a political campaign and calling for change.

“People came from the community and police were there, but in full support of the protest and what I heard from a lot of people was that the police were invisible,” he said.

Back in South Kingstown, in a letter to his team, Antoine’s former coach Jim Fleming encouraged his players to emulate the character of Antoine. As the sports world continues to take note of racial injustices, Antoine said he’s beginning to see a change.

“When Jim Fleming or any other coach around the country asks their players what to do, this is their call to action to take up more social responsibility,” he said.

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