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Coco Gauff delivers powerful call to action during Delray Beach demonstration

'I was 8 years old when Trayvon Martin was killed, so why am I here at 16 still demanding change?'
Coco Gauff at 'black lives matter' protest in Delray Beach
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 23:25:10-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach's own rising tennis superstar Coco Gauff is demanding more change to ease racial tension after the death of George Floyd.

The 16-year-old addressed protesters Wednesday evening with a passionate call to action during a peaceful demonstration in Delray Beach Wednesday evening.

"My name is Coco and who just spoke was my grandma, and I think it's sad that I'm here protesting the same thing she did 50-plus years ago," Gauff said. "So I'm here to tell you guys this -- that we must first love each other no matter what."

Floyd's death, which was videotaped by passersby last week, led to the arrest of a former Minneapolis police officer and sparked protests across the nation.

"I've been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement," Gauff added.

Several rallies in South Florida have also surfaced in memory of Floyd while calling out racism and police brutality.

“I've been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement," added Gauff.

Gauff vowed to continue using her platform to spread vital information to draw attention to inequality and social justice.

“I was 8 years old when Trayvon Martin was killed, so why am I here at 16 still demanding change?” Gauff said.

Several rallies in South Florida have also surfaced in memory of Floyd with renewed calls against racism and police brutality.

Gauff's grandmother, Yvonne Odom, said Coco was deeply affected by Floyd's death.

"She canceled a practice after she viewed what happened, and she never, ever cancels practices," Odom said.

She said Coco has always been thoughtful about the decades of mistreatment her family endured.

Yvonne Odom talks about granddaughter Coco Gauff being affected by death of George Floyd
"She canceled a practice after she viewed what happened, and she never, ever cancels practices," Yvonne Odom says of her granddaughter, Coco Gauff, the day after the Delray Beach tennis star spoke at a "black lives matter" protest after the death of George Floyd.

Odom moved to Boynton Beach in 1959 before moving to Delray Beach in 1966.

"A lot of times we just sat on the side of the road and, people my age can remember, and use moss to go to the bathroom, because you could not use the restroom where you actually bought gas," Odom said about family trips to South Florida in the 1950s.

Odom acknowledges that Palm Beach County has made strides to equalize disparities, but also called it a "slow process."

However, she also said watching young leaders like her granddaughter take a stand against social injustice has been reinvigorating.

"Once in a while in a generation, somebody comes along who has that, and I think Coco is that," Odom said.

Gauff vowed to continue using her platform to spread vital information to draw attention to inequality and social justice.

"I was 8 years old when Trayvon Martin was killed, so why am I here at 16 still demanding change?" Gauff said.