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‘Finding Hope Through Hoops’: Sam Sessoms Discusses Leading Protest On Philadelphia’s FOX 29 News

Penn State men’s basketball transfer Sam Sessoms joined Philadelphia’s FOX 29 news station this morning to discuss his organization of protests in one of the city’s western neighborhoods this week.

Sessoms, a Philadelphia native, harnessed his love for basketball to protest police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd and other black men and women.

“I went to Martha Washington Middle School. After middle school, I went to the Shipley High School of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and then after that, I transferred to Binghamton for two years, and now I’m at Penn State University,” Sessoms told FOX 29’s Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley.

Donning a Penn State men’s basketball polo, Sessoms explained the thought process behind the peaceful protests to Jerrick and Holley and highlighted the purpose behind them.

“Me and a bunch of friends, maybe five or six of us, decided to take a stance. We’re all college athletes, and we kind of needed basketball as a shield,” Sessoms said. “We knew if we went out there and we had basketballs, nothing that would bring anything to the crowd or the streets of Philadelphia, the police would be peaceful with us.”

The Nittany Lion joined several other college hoops stars while demonstrating in the City of Brotherly Love, including Villanova’s Dhamir Crosby-Roundtree, Rider’s Christian Ings, and Quinnipiac’s Tyree Pickron.

“We just wanted to show that student-athletes can use their platform or take a stance,” Sessoms said.

“No one was injured and everyone is home safe,” Sessoms wrote on “Instagram. I never felt this good in my life. I woke up and attempted to make a change. I did this for George Floyd and every African American who goes through tough time because of their blackness!!!”

Sessoms added the reaction to his hoops-inspired protest has been exceptionally positive. He said many friends have reached out to him wishing to join and grow the movement in hopes of inspring change.

Additionally, Sessoms encouraged any local “just outside Philly” folks to reach out to him through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram if they’d like to join the movement.

Although Sessoms doesn’t currently have any concrete plans for another protest, he plans to peacefully demonstrate again before leaving for Penn State on June 15.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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