In the wake of George Floyd’s death, student athletes from multiple universities and institutions around the United States raised money and awareness for Black Lives Matter on 8 June by walking, running, biking or swimming 8.46 miles.
In Cayman, former and current Camana Bay Aquatic Club swimmers Lauren Hew, Audrey Weber and Sabine Ellison supported the cause and encouraged the public to make a donation.
Black Lives Matter is a US-based organisation that actively fights against the injustices and inequalities that Black Americans have endured for more than 400 years. The 8.46 miles signify the 8:46 minutes former Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to George Floyd’s neck, as Floyd struggled to say “I can’t breathe”.
Caymanian Lauren Hew, a sophomore on the Florida State University women’s swimming and diving team, ran one mile on West Bay Road, biked 6.46 miles to West Bay and back to Governor’s Beach and then swam one mile from Governor’s beach to Public Beach.
“Student athletes are often in the spotlight so I think it is important for us to use our voices to bring awareness to these injustices and support members of the black community, beyond just posting on social media,” Hew said in a press release issued by Stingray Swim Club. “It is our responsibility to educate ourselves, listen, and fight alongside them.”
Weber, who has committed to swim at Oberlin College, in Ohio, teamed with Ellison, Mikayla Corin and Holly Stradling to run 1.46 miles, swim one mile, walk one mile and bike another five.
“As an American living in Cayman, I have felt distanced from the BLM movement despite my passion for it, so I really wanted to find a way to support it from home,” Weber said.
Their efforts have helped raise $78,000, according to the press release.
“The reality of police brutality and racial injustices both in America and across the globe have been brought to light,” Ellison said.
“I would like to encourage everyone to actively seek out ways to support this movement such as educating yourself on racial inequality, reflecting on your own ideas regarding race, signing petitions and donating to the various organisations who fight against these racial injustices.”
“We are so proud of our athletes,” said Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association President Michael Lockwood. “Standing in solidarity with athletes from across the US, raising money for Black Lives Matter and the important work they are doing is something which takes courage and strength. Lauren, Audrey, Sabine, Holly and Mikayla – thank you for taking positive action in the fight against police brutality and racial injustice.”