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Jaylen Brown drives 15 hours to lead peaceful protest in Atlanta

Celtics guard joined Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon during a march in their hometown on Saturday

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown organized a peaceful protest march through Atlanta on Saturday.

Brown said during a livestream on his Instagram account that he had driven 15 hours from Boston to lead the march in Atlanta, which is just outside his hometown of Marietta, GA. He was joined by Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, former first-round pick Justin Anderson and rapper Lil Yachty on the march that began at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta.

“I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community,” Brown said. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community. […] We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.”

The group gathered to protest for justice and the end to police brutality. Brown marched with a sign that read “I Can’t Breathe,” a reference to George Floyd, who died while handcuffed in Minneapolis on Monday after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The death of Floyd, along with the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, has sparked nationwide protests against racial injustices.

“As a young person, you’ve got to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard,” Brown said. “I’m 23 years old. I don’t know all of the answers. But I feel how everybody else is feeling, for sure. No question.”

Brown and Brogdon are both vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association.

“I’ve got brothers, I’ve got sisters, I’ve got friends that are in the streets, that are out here, that haven’t made it to this level, that are experiencing it, that are getting pulled over, just discrimination, day after day,” Brogdon told protesters in a video posted to Brown’s Instagram page. “This is systematic. This isn’t something where we come and […] we don’t have to burn down our homes. We built this city. This is the most proudly black city in the world. In the world, man. Let’s take some pride in that. Let’s focus our energy. Let’s enjoy this together.

“This is a moment. We have leverage right now. We have a moment in time. People are going to look back, our kids are going to look back at this and say, ‘You were part of that.’ I’ve got a grandfather that marched next to [Martin Luther King Jr.] in the ’60s, and he was amazing. He would be proud to see us all here. We got to keep pushing forward. Jaylen has led this charge, man, and I’m proud of him. We need more leaders.”

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was a longtime friend of Floyd, protested in Minneapolis on Friday alongside Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and guard Josh Okogie.

“I don’t have no more tears honestly,” Jackson said on Friday. “I’ve cried enough. I’ve cried enough. I’m here for one reason. For my brother’s honor.”