GOSHEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Jillian Hayes felt bad stomach last week when she saw the video of George Floyd’s arrest before he died.
“I was outraged,” said the new University of Cincinnati basketball player. “I was upset. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, it won’t happen to anyone I love. It won’t happen to anyone in my family.’ But the reality is that it can happen to anyone. “
Hayes, who graduated from Loveland High School last week, attended the protests with her family outside the Hamilton County courthouse on Monday afternoon.
“I’m tired of worrying about whether my father, my brothers or my cousins, my uncles – just friends in general – leave the house when they want to get it home safely,” said Hayes. “I think it’s very important that we show our support by being there and only speaking out against the injustices that are going on.”
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The goal on Monday was simple, but it carried a strong message: Hayes and her family wanted their voices to be heard in order to create change.
“Just so as not to be silenced,” said Hayes. “You know, come together and unite with all of the people who are there in honor of George Floyd and all the other senseless murders of black men and women.”
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was seen in a video kneeling on Floyd’s neck before his death. Chauvin was charged with murder and third degree manslaughter late last week.
Jonathan Hayes, Jillian’s father and former Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach, was disappointed to see what was happening in Minnesota.
“I think the hardest part of obviously having worked in law enforcement when I was younger and then knowing my dad worked in law enforcement for years – the injustice, the lack of respect for life – is real hard to see and watch, “he said. “And just being brutally honest and watching a white man kill a black man in the middle of the day and nothing can be done to save him.”
Former XFL head coach Jonathan Hayes, a former Bengali assistant coach, was disappointed to learn of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota. Hayes said humanity must unite to understand different perspectives.
Jonathan and his wife Kristi said it was important to show Jillian and her younger brothers Jonah and Jewett how to peacefully protest on Monday if they are committed to social change.
The New Orleans Pelicans Rookie Center Jaxson Hayes – the oldest sibling – took part in a protest in New Orleans last weekend.
“We have to come together as a human race,” said Jonathan Hayes. “And as humans, we need to understand that we will all have differences. But we need to be able to understand that there are many similarities and things that we all want in ours, just because we have differences we want to be able to To have a beautiful life. We want to be able to have the things that you want your children to experience. “
Jillian Hayes led her family’s efforts to participate in the protest. Your parents supported the initiative 100%.
“She was up front the whole time,” said Jonathan Hayes. “She always had views – even more so.”
Darnell Parker, Loveland girls’ basketball coach, said Jillian was a major advocate of racial equality.
“Jillian is extremely passionate about the things she believes in and very receptive to what is going on,” said Parker. “She was one of those kids who did a great job being out there and active and being a leader well beyond her years.”
Hayes said she participated in Zoom calls with UC coaches and teammates to find out what happened in the country over the past week.
She said the UC coaching team fully supported the players. Hayes encouraged other student athletes to comment.
“Whatever platform you can use – whether it’s starting a conversation, asking questions, reposting something on Instagram, making a donation, going to these protests. Whatever you can do to help make your contribution.” Sign petitions – there are plenty of petitions around. Whatever you can do – just don’t be silent. “
Parker said Hayes is the type of student athlete who definitely has a vision for her future.
“These are the types of children who will lead our nation,” said Parker. “I wouldn’t be surprised the day after graduating from high school if Jill is in a civil service where she’s a mayor, governor, senator or something so that she can make a difference and build this country.”