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An HBCU men’s basketball program has decided to take on a surprising cause for their team’s social justice project. 

According to HBCU Gameday, the Howard University men’s basketball players will take on the issue of Black maternal health and the implications of the Roe v. Wade reversal on Black women. The decision came after intense discussions among players and coaches.

“The team chose to organize around Black maternal health as its social justice project this season due to the amount of attention in the past year given to these issues, like the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” said Jelani Williams, the team captain.

“Being at an HBCU, we also know that Black people, especially Black women, are generally more impacted by issues in American society than other groups. As a team with Black mothers, aunts, sisters, and friends across each of our lives, in addition to being on a campus that is predominately female, we felt like it would be helpful to organize around an issue that affects them, and one that is not talked about nearly enough.”

The team will kick off their volunteer efforts during their MLK Day game versus Morehouse College.

Howard University’s basketball program has partnered with Mamatoto Village, an organization dedicated to Black women and maternal health.  The duo will host a community event Sunday, Jan. 15, to package pregnancy care kits for the community. 

Coach Kenny Blakeney told HBCU Gameday that he expects all his players to make positive impacts on the world once they graduate from Howard. He demands nothing less. 

“When we recruit players to Howard, we aren’t just recruiting them to represent Howard on the basketball court, but we are recruiting young men who will live up to the standard of excellence this university has set for itself,” said Blakeney. 

“If our players leave Howard without having made an impact on the world outside of Georgia Avenue, then I have failed as our head coach. In that vein, I issued a challenge to our team at the start of the season to come up with a social justice project that would honor the legacy of activism at our university. The challenge was intentionally broad, as I wanted our players to truly take ownership of the issue they wanted to focus on.”


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