MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A surreal scene on Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium as officers from across South Florida, young black men, and members of the Miami Dolphins took a knee.
It happened during an event hosted by the Dolphins to encourage dialogue between youth and law enforcement.
Miami-Dade police made a major announcement as well.
The field at hard rock stadium lined not with football players, but police officers and young black men.
All taking a knee, as the names of black men killed was read aloud.
Even the Miami Dolphins CEO, coach, hall of fame quarterback Dan Marino joined.
What was once a sign of controversy on the sidelines, now a sign of unity.
“Black Lives Matter,” said Tom Garfinkel, president & CEO, Miami Dolphins.
This annual conference is put together by the 5,000 Role Model Program, but due to the pandemic, it had been postponed.
“It’s important that we do it now. It’s important that these youth have an opportunity to talk with law enforcement and build that relationship now,” said Chief J.D. Patterson with Miami Gardens Police.
The Dolphins getting creative with the field to make it happen.
“It’s a time for action. It’s time for change. Overdue change,” said Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
“I don’t want to be assumed to be a criminal when I walk down the street. I don’t want to be targeted for arrest. Do we not breathe the same air? Do we not bleed the same blood? Do we not deserve safety, belonging, and mattering?” said George Pickens, senior at Miami Northwestern Senior High.
Miami-Dade’s police director announced a big change for the country’s 8th largest police department.
“Promise you that there will never be a chokehold application again in Miami-Dade County. Ever,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III.
“What matters right now is to show the community that I am listening to them. And we are listening. We want to bring peace. We want to put a stop to this.”
Malique Lewis, a senior, skipped his virtual graduation to be here. “Frankly it was just too important to miss,” he said.
“Our world stopped with a virus. Now our nation is roaring with injustice. We can and we will get through this,” said Malique. “We are alive in difficult times like these to transform humanity on a better path.”
Ultimately, Thursday night was about trying to understand each other.
Each of the young men received a pamphlet explaining why police may stop them and what to do.
One of the young men who spoke explained to law enforcement that “the unrest you see today are not actions, they are the end result of mistakes, of not being heard, of inaction.”