High school basketball team sends strong message against hate with these t-shirts

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

A high school basketball team has sent a strong message against hate and for solidarity with refugees.

The Lower Merion basketball team on Tuesday caused a minor stir when they came out in their newly rebranded warm-up t-shirts.

The black t-shirts with white writing included the words “I am a Muslim. I am a refugee. I am an immigrant. I am an American. I am an Ace.”

High school basketball team sends strong message against hate with these t-shirts

As well as wearing the shirts, the boys interlocked arms and one kneeled down during the national anthem.

The school district was supportive of the right of the boys to express their opinions on the issues of immigration and refugees.

“The district supports and respects our students’ right to express themselves and share their voices in an appropriate manner,” Doug Young, the Lower Merion School District communications director said in a statement on Wednesday.

He added: “The conversations the kids had before they started doing this were very powerful. The kids were in fact very open, honest and forthright.”

The head coach for the team, Gregg Downer, added: “We’ve had some very good conversations about this behind closed doors… The kids decided they wanted to do this, and we support what they’re doing.”

The team was responding to some unrest in the US, and to President Trump’s travel ban.

A written statement from the team reads in part: “What we do want to convey as a full team is that no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you should be welcomed, respected, and heard. As a team, we believe in fighting for the rights of all – protecting, defending, and giving voice to those who feel marginalised, who live in fear, and who face injustice.

“Lastly, we want to make clear our respect for those who serve and have served our country defending freedom and liberty. We are grateful for your contributions.”

It is expected that the team will continue to wear the t-shirts for upcoming games.