By Swathi Srinivasan ‘24 and Hema Vikram ‘24
Throughout the past year, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gained awareness and support across the world. People held protests and rallies to show support for the cause, including on the lawn of Edison High School in June last year. This movement provides confidence and advocacy for Black Americans to celebrate their culture and heritage. However, supporting such protests was originally discouraged in Manchester Township High School, an incident that created an unlikely connection between the Ocean County school and EHS.
Destiny Adams– a student at Manchester Township High School– wore a jersey relating to the BLM movement to warm up during her basketball practice. However, she was asked to take it off due to township guidelines. Adams fought the restriction and took to social media to explain her situation and even tried to explain her reasoning to her school board. As a result, the girls on Edison High’s basketball team took a stand to support her. Francis Eckert, the coach of this basketball team, sees the parallels between teamwork on and off the court.
As Eckert illustrated the team’s experience, he repeatedly emphasized the importance of the community; that their passion and collaboration enabled them to help Adams in her fight for justice. By working together, the team became more unified.
“It brought [them] together as a team and brought [them] together as a unit,” said Eckert. “With any type of club that you’re involved in, the group is what makes it, it’s not an individual thing. So as a team going forth in practices, games, just the whole journey. If you go as one, you’re not going to get very far.”
Eckert emphasized Adams and her mother’s gratitude towards the team’s support. They were also happy to see others showing their support for the BLM movement.
“Sometimes, you think as a high school student you say something and it just goes to your friends, the people around you, and maybe your class,” said Eckert. “For any cause really, if you put a plan in place and you really believe in what you’re doing and saying that you could accomplish a lot of things. … You get a few voices together, you never know how far that could carry.”
He believes that standing up for what you believe in and having the confidence required to make change is essential for students and teammates.