Pennysylvania’s Lower Merion High School boys basketball team the Aces won their Central League’s title last night. Exciting news for these young men and their community of supporters. Even more impressive is that this team is unified by something more than just their enjoyment of the game of basketball.
“I am a Muslim,” the shirt worn by all members of the Aces boys basketball team read in white script. “I am a refugee. I am an immigrant. I am an American. I am an Ace.”
United in advocating for citizens’ rights in an American climate where they are increasingly under fire, the shirts were a collaborative show of defiance, crystallizing various forms of protest the Aces have displayed in recent weeks.
The shirts, which they wore during warmups and the playing of the National Anthem in their championship game, were a collaboration.
“People’s lives are bigger than a ball going through a hoop,” said Najja Walker-X, a senior guard who spearheaded the production of the shirts.
The Aces’ protests have taken sporadic forms in recent weeks, including sitting or kneeling during the national anthem. That has drawn attention, not always positively so, and it hasn’t communicated the thrust of the Aces message effectively enough for their liking. So Walker-X and his teammates sought a more unified and explicable front, hence the slogan crafted via a team discussion over an issue weighing on the minds of many, one they hope to start selling soon with proceeds benefitting the American Civil Liberties Union.
We are all Lower Merion. Good job.