Brown women’s incoming first-year Mya Murray joins stand against racial injustice amid college preparation

Mya Murray puts up a shot for her 1,000th career point last December in a non-section game for Uniontown at McKeesport. | Photo by Ed Thompson

It’s been quite a year for incoming Brown first-year Mya Murray.

The Uniontown Area High School graduate was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Team, tabbed as the player of the year by her local hometown newspaper, The Herald-Standard, represented her school as a scholar-athlete with a 4.25 GPA, finished second in her district in scoring and completed her high school career with 1,363 points and 1,028 rebounds in her four years playing for Uniontown.

Murray, who graduated on June 4, decided to head to Pittsburgh the day after donning her cap and gown in a socially distanced ceremony to march in a Black Lives Matter protest. Murray and many of her friends were aware of the potential dangers of the event but felt they had a responsibility to act in the face of social injustice.

“I just felt like this movement is really important to me, especially being a person of color,” Murray said. “I have had personal experiences that have shown me that things need to change. My mom has always tried to shelter me from how cruel the world could be, but I still experienced smart remarks and criticism my whole life.

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Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

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Ivy hoops community continues to reflect on racial injustice

Nearly a month after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis officer while three other officers stood by, the Ivy hoops community has continued to speak out against racial injustice and in support of people of color.

Another introspective from Nat Graham

Penn men’s associate head coach and 1997 graduate Nat Graham, who is White, on Sunday published a post on Medium thoughtfully reflecting on the structural advantages his race gave him in life and the “not so equal” separation between his Miami neighborhood and that of his Black high school teammate who Graham found out later eventually got his teeth knocked out while in prison.

Graham writes:

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Theresa Grace Mbanefo fights for racial equality at Cornell

Theresa Grace Mbanefo is a rising Cornell women’s basketball junior. (Cornell Athletics)

As the country continues to grapple with a deadly pandemic and a growing protest movement against police brutality and centuries-old racial inequalities, Cornell women’s basketball rising junior Theresa Grace Mbanefo and her organization, Women of Color Cornell Athletics (WOCCA) are looking to make structural changes on the East Hill of Ithaca.

On June 1, WOCCA initiated the “Hear Us Now” photo campaign to “demand informed allyship from the Cornell athletic community and beyond.”

The posts of the various female and male student-athletes of color show each holding up a sign describing times when they heard the crowds cheering for them.  The last shows all of the athletes holding posters with “But do you see us? #BLM”.

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