Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 55 AUGUST 2020 7 UNDER THE DOME were on signs carried by players such as the one linebacker Jordan Gen- mark Heath had on June 19 in soli- darity with the Black Lives Matter movement, or the shirt wide receiver Javon McKinley wore that read: WE MARCH, Y'ALL MAD. WE SIT DOWN, Y'ALL MAD. WE SPEAK UP, Y'ALL MAD. WE DIE, Y'ALL SILENT. While it may be tempting to fall back on false pretenses that racism in this country died years ago, Hayes encouraged the crowd to look at rac- ism as more than just a black or white issue. "Throughout this movement, there's a harsh line of demarcation, right?" Hayes said. "It's either you're racist or you're not. Either you hate black people or you don't. That's not true. "It's much more complicated than that. There are a large amount of people and, I would argue, a major- ity of our campus faculty, students included, that are just not educated. They don't know what they don't know. "Not to say that they wouldn't do anything for you. Not to say if I went to my coach right now and said, 'Coach, I need you,' he wouldn't be there for me now. That's not it. You just don't know what it means to be a black man in America." CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH The peaceful walk and prayer was also a lesson to many of those in attendance on the importance of Juneteenth — a commemoration of June 19, 1865, the day slavery offi- cially ended in the United States — and why it should be observed as a holiday on a more widespread scale. "For all black people of this coun- try, today is our Fourth of July," Hayes said. "It's our Independence Day, and may it always be recog- nized as such." Even Kelly admitted on stage that he wasn't aware of Juneteenth until recently. "I had to open up my eyes to learn more about what today meant and, as Father John [Jenkins, Notre Dame president] and Myron have articu- lated already, we want to rejoice the day," he said. "There's no doubt about having that independence, but we also know of the struggles that we still face today." Kelly and the others who took the stage encouraged everyone to con- tinue to push for change when it comes to systematic racism and op- pression, which goes much further than the removal of the confederate flag. It's improving the public schools in underfunded areas. It's ensuring all black men and women have access to health care. It's making fundamental changes to the criminal justice system. "We want to rejoice the day," Kelly said. "There's no doubt about hav- ing that independence, but we also know of the struggles that we still face today. "That's why it's important that when we talked about coming to- gether today, that one of the impor- tant elements was the group Black Lives Matters. [It] is important to be here today, as well, because that is the spirit, that is the energy, that is the drive that continues to move change." CHANGE MUST ALSO TAKE PLACE ON CAMPUS While much of the afternoon was a celebration, there were somber mo- ments, like when Hayes spoke of the anxiety his family endures every time he leaves home and enters the outside world. "The fear that our parents feel when they send us out in the world and don't know if we're going to come back the same way they left us," Hayes continued. "To be mur- dered in broad daylight. These are the realities that our players, our stu- dents face. "Far beyond when we take off a gold helmet, far beyond when we take off a Notre Dame monogram, we're still a black man, a black woman." It goes further than that. The ev- eryday experience of every black and minority student on Notre Dame's campus matters. Siegel, a junior of- fensive lineman, shared his expe- riences as a black student at Notre Dame and some of the racially in- sensitive comments and classroom discussions he has encountered. Many others share this sentiment. A petition on, the Notre Dame Black Alumni appeal, which has nearly 11,000 signatures, recom- mends several other detailed changes the university should make. While the university takes pride in the positive impact former president Rev. Theodore Hesburgh had on the civil rights movement and his will- ingness to stand in solidarity with Martin Luther King Jr., that doesn't mean there are not issues of racism and inequality on campus today. Siegel said that he and many other black students at Notre Dame expe- rience hurt from the often insensi- tive comments and questions they receive from their classmates, and he hopes the university will make curriculum changes to address this issue. "I want to amplify what that peti- tion said about education," Siegel said, pausing due to the gravity of the request he was about to make. "With Father Jenkins present, I want to personally ask that this university looks into implementing a more ro- bust cultural efficacy course." Once the walk was over, those in attendance again gathered around the stage at the Irish Green. Hayes stepped onto his platform and spoke to those in the crowd who walked alongside him for two miles. "We're just getting started," he said. "This walk is just the first step in the right direction to lead Notre Dame to the best version of itself. … I just want to leave y'all with three things. "Obviously, with the pandemic, we need you guys to stay safe, we need you guys to stay blessed but, most of all, stay woke. Go Irish." ✦ "We're just getting started. This walk is just the first step in the right direction to lead Notre Dame to the best version of itself." FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR DEFENSIVE END DAELIN HAYES

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - August 2020