Zaevion Dobson gave his life to protect his friends from gun violence and his memory was honored at the 2016 ESPY Awards in light of his heroic actions.
Taking the stage before a crowd of top athletes, celebrities, media and fans, Zaevion’s mother Zenobia accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on his behalf with her other two sons at her side and a touching speech that moved much of the audience to tears.
Zaevion was just 15 years old when he and his friends were caught in the middle of a shootout between rival gang members in Knoxville, Tennessee last December. The courageous high school football star used his body to shield his friends as the shots rang out and tragically died as a result of his injuries.
In addition to paying tribute to Zaevion and his 12-year-old young cousin who was also gunned down just four months after his death, Zenobia used the moment to call for an end to the gun violence through legislative action. “I’d love to stand up here and tell you even more about Zaevion than you already know — all the hopes and dreams he had for the future, all the things I dreamed about for him,” she began. “But I feel the need to tell you something else.”
Urging the crowd to get involved in the fight to bring about change, she challenged the very athletes her son admired to take action by speaking out against gun violence. “We as a country need to take a stand to consider the effects of gun violence on families throughout America.”
Watch a clip from her unforgettable ESPY Awards speech below.
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