The 2016 ESPYs might as well have forgotten the awards portion of the show tonight after a moving speech from gun violence victim Zaevion Dobson’s mother brought everyone to tears.
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Zaevion was a 15-year-old kid who was killed in December 2015 after suspected gang members opened fire on Zaevion and a group of his friends who were celebrating the holiday break from school. Zaevion was struck and killed after he jumped on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets.
For more backstory on Zaevion, check out this video.
Since the shooting, Zaevion’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, has been speaking out on behalf of her son’s legacy to spread awareness about gun violence and the need for more action against gun violence.
“I’m here to fight back,” Zenobia said as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage on behalf of her son. “We as a country need to take a stand to consider the effects of gun violence on families throughout America.”
More: Zaevion Dobson’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award win is heartbreaking
Whether or not this tribute will have a lasting impact on the country remains to be seen, but it definitely took over the ESPY Awards with its poignant message.
Well done @ESPYS beautiful tribute to #ZaevionDobson So proud of his family and their message.
— Ted Hall (@tedhallnews) July 14, 2016
Living room full of tears #ZaevionDobson
— Stacy 🏳️🌈 (@bodhismiles) July 14, 2016
This is a true story of heroism. #ZaevionDobson
Please watch. https://t.co/t3RnWL0btd
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) July 14, 2016
This story is….wow. Just….wow. #ZaevionDobson #ESPYS https://t.co/UjiIlA7VxS
— Jay Harris (@JayHarrisESPN) July 14, 2016
Wow. #ESPYS The story of #ZaevionDobson touched my heart beyond words. I couldn't help but cry. God Bless Zaevion and his family 🙏👼
— Johnny O'Neill (@9JohnnyBaseball) July 14, 2016
*tears* Yo props to the #ESPYS for addressing real issues with real stories tonight. #ZaevionDobson
— Austin Null (@AustinNull) July 14, 2016
That was the most powerful tribute I have ever seen. Words can't describe. Rest in Peace Zaevion Dobson. #ESPYS #ZaevionDobson
— Lauren St. Germain (@LaurenWFTS) July 14, 2016
Not a dry eye in the audience after #ZaevionDobson's story was told. #ESPYS2016
— Tearsa Smith WATE 6 (@TearsaSmith) July 14, 2016
“All the athletes in this room have a lot of power. People look up to you. I know Zaevion did. And I urge you to think tonight about why he died and what you can do tomorrow to prevent the next innocent young man or woman from being lost as well,” Zenobia said in her speech.
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