Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards were filled with powerful and moving speeches including the one that Zenobia Dobson gave as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on behalf of her son, Zaevion Dobson, a Tennessee high school football player who died shielding two young women from being shot.
“I’m here to fight back,” she told the crowd in an emotional speech. “We as a country need to take a stand to consider the effects of gun violence on families throughout America. Oh yes.”
“I’m here to urge all of you to join the movement tonight to save innocent lives,” Dobson said with her two surviving sons by her side. “We need to rewrite laws. To make it harder for the people to get guns. Some progress has been made, but just a few months ago in Tennessee, a law was passed to allow people to carry more guns on college campuses. What sense does that make? We need to go in the opposite direction.”
She also encouraged athletes sitting in the audience and beyond to do more and speak up, a sentiment that was echoed earlier that evening by the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
“People look up to you. I know Zaevion did. I urge you to think tonight about why he died and what you can do tomorrow to prevent the next innocent man or woman from being lost as well,” she concluded.
Dobson also revealed that her son wasn’t the only one to lose their life to gun violence–another relative was killed four months after Zaevion’s death, the Huffington Post noted.
Before the Dobson family took the stage, ESPN played a moving video featuring actor Michael B. Jordan narrating the voice of the slain teen describing his life and what his last day on Earth was like. The 12-minute documentary also included interviews with Dobson’s family, his football coach, others who Zaevion touched and a message from President Obama.
This will bring you to tears.
As HELLO BEAUTIFUL previously reported, Dobson, 15, and several friends were hanging out on the evening of December 17th when 23-year-old Brandon Perry drove through the neighborhood and “randomly fired multiple times.” Dobson was killed when he threw himself over three girls to protect them from the gunfire.