16-Year-Old Coco Gauff Speaks at Protest in Florida After George Floyd Killing

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst II

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 15: Coco Gauff in action against Estela Perez-Somarriba during the Delray Beach Open Exhibition at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center on February 15, 2020 in Delray Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Tennis star Coco Gauff is 16 years old and unable to vote, but she isn't letting that stop her from making her voice heard as protests seeking justice for George Floyd, as well as changes addressing police brutality and racial injustice, are sweeping the nation.  

"I think it's sad that I'm here protesting the same thing that [my grandmother] did 50-plus years ago," Gauff said during a protest in Delray Beach, Florida.

She continued, in part:

"So I'm here to tell you guys this: that we must first love each other, no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with my friends. I've been spending all week having tough conversations trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement. Second, we need to take action. Yes, we're all here protesting, and I'm not of age to vote, but it's in your hands to vote for my future. ... Third, you need to use your voice."

Emily Sullivan @emsulliv

Just now, @CocoGauff spoke to today’s peaceful protesters in Delray: https://t.co/nSSis0Ssdl

Gauff also quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of her speech:

"I saw a Dr. King quote that said, 'The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.' So, you need to not be silent," she added.

"If you are choosing silence, you're choosing the side of the oppressor."

"If you listen to black music, if you like black culture, if you have black friends, then this is your fight too. I demand change now."

Gauff has been vocal across social media, as well:

Coco Gauff @CocoGauff

I promise to always use my platform to help make the world a better place.

Coco Gauff @CocoGauff

#blacklivesmatter https://t.co/WEZEmtHH8k

Floyd died May 25 while in the custody of the Minneapolis police. According to an independent autopsy released Monday, the 46-year-old unarmed black man died after suffering "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" as since-fired officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds:

CNN Breaking News @cnnbrk

An independent autopsy into the death of George Floyd found that he died from "asphyxiation from sustained pressure," which contradicts the county medical examiner's preliminary report https://t.co/s4pNycG5PE

Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter May 29, while the other three officers involved with Floyd's arrest remained uncharged until Wednesday, when Chauvin's charge was elevated to second-degree murder: 

CNN Breaking News @cnnbrk

The Minnesota attorney general is increasing charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to second-degree murder in George Floyd's death and also charging the other three officers involved in the incident, Sen. Amy Klobuchar says https://t.co/TOSDBV3q8x https://t.co/36qN8GMwVm

Gauff is WTA's 52nd-ranked player. The Delray Beach native turned pro in 2018 and became the youngest player to advance to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon since 1991 one year later.