On Wednesday night at the 2016 ESPY Awards, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage was posthumously awarded to Zaevion Dobson, a high school football player who died shielding two girls from gunfire in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The incredibly brave and selfless young man was just 15-years-old. He gave his life for his friends.
His mother, Zenobia Dobson, accepted the award on behalf of her son alongside his two brothers, and she gave a heartwarming speech in the process.
Incredibly moving tribute to the heroic #ZaevionDobson from his incredible mother. https://t.co/QszNiL29Uc — Laura King (@LK) July 14, 2016
She called on Americans to recognize the devastating impact of gun violence across our communities, and to come together and champion reform.
Zaevion's mother stated,
I'm here to fight back. We as a country need to take a stand to consider the effects of gun violence on families throughout America. I'm here to urge all of you to join the movement tonight to save innocent lives.
People were clearly moved by her poignant words.
This young man was far too young when he died. He had his entire life ahead of him. Sadly, his story is not unique in the US, where gun violence claims over 10,000 lives per year.
While what Zaevion did was exceptionally courageous and undeniably inspiring, it would be nice to live in a society where teenagers are not forced to sacrifice their lives for their friends.
As a country, as human beings, we can do better. We owe it to people like Zaevion, among far too many others.
You can watch the ESPYS' powerful tribute to Dobson in the video player above.