AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A major food donation in Aurora is really an olive branch, bringing together a group of Black football players and the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints after more than 50 years. It began when some students wanted to wear armbands as a form of expression.
The year was 1969, 14 African American football players for the University of Wyoming wanted to wear black armbands to protest racist policies at Brigham Young University, the school they were set to play against. So, they went to their coach to discuss it.
“We were kicked off the football team,” John Griffin recalled.
Since that day, the story has been shared many times, and members of the Black 14, as they became known, continued to fight for equality.
“Two entities that were on opposite ends of the spectrum have come together to do something very special,” Griffin said.
Griffin was one of those players and is now part of the Black 14 Philanthropy. He has accepted an olive branch from the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints which runs BYU to undo their wrongs with something good.
“There are only a couple times that I’ve cried, and I cried last year… it got to me.”
That’s when the University of Wyoming apologized to the Black 14. This time Griffin got emotional about the nearly half-million pounds of food that have been collected.
“We got items that are in such need like macaroni and spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, chili,” Mark Hahn with Catholic Charities said.
“We have the opportunity to feed people, we have the opportunity to make sure little kids have food in their bellies come Thanksgiving,” said Griffin.
They’re simple items, but in tough times, some struggle to get the very basics.
“And today, this is one of those days,” Griffin added.
A day for Griffin to cry, for a beautiful chapter in what began as an ugly story.