LOS ANGELES (WATE) – Knoxville teen hero Zaevion Dobson posthumously received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award Wednesday night at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
“Arthur Ashe was a leading example of strength and courage for us as a family, and we feel blessed and honored that our Zaevion joined the ranks of this award’s honorees,” said Zaevion’s mother Zenobia as she accepted the award on his behalf.
Dobson was shot and killed last December while shielding two girls, Faith Gordon and Kiara Rucker, from gunfire in what was described as a random gang related shooting. Zaevion Dobson was not involved in a gang.
“As you know, Zaevion was killed by passing gunfire on December 17, 2015, but you probably don’t know that four months later, his 12-month-old cousin Jajuan Latham was killed in a drive-by shooting,” said Zenobia Dobson. “So in honor of Zaevion and Jajuan and so many others, 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.”
Zenobia Dobson said in her acceptance speech her son’s shooting should serve as a rallying cry for tougher gun laws.
“We need to rewrite laws to make it harder for people to get guns. Some progress has been made, but just a few months in Tennessee, a law was passed a few months ago to allow more people to carry guns on college campuses. What sense does that make?” Zenobia Dobson asked.
She called on those in the room at the ESPYs to think about why Zaevion Dobson died and what they can do to prevent more similar occurrences from happening.
“If my son were here tonight, I know what I would say to him. ‘Zaevion, your dreams and visions are here with us to prove that your act of bravery and boldness reveal to the world the real you: handsome strong and with a beautiful spirit. You remain a guardian angel to us.’”