In an effort to show support for its diversity and inclusion, the Webster University men’s and women’s basketball team came together, wearing customized Black History Month shirts before last Saturday’s games.
The shirts – designed by sophomore forward Darieana Hunter – were inspired by Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech. On the back of the shirt reads #LoksHaveADream.
During Saturday’s games, the men’s and women’s players, cheerleaders and fans were seen in the shirts. Hunter said she believed the idea helped boost the team’s chemistry and camaraderie.
“Only a few teammates knew actually, but they thought it was a super cool idea, and helped me with some final decisions,” Hunter said. “I think the shirts brought my team and the men’s team closer. We were all super excited to wear the shirts and I think that made a great connection.”
Hunter came to Director of Athletics Scott Kilgallon with the idea. Kilgallon said he was all for the idea of displaying the Gorloks’ diversity and commended Hunter for taking initiative.
“I was very impressed with her passion and how she thought through the message as well as coming up with a tremendous design,” Kilgallon said.
Hunter said the idea was something that she had to keep trying to create. Kilgallon commended her diligence and commitment.
“Anytime you have a student that is passionate about a worthwhile cause and is willing to take the initiative put in the work to promote awareness for a cause, it gives you a boost of energy to support them,” Kilgallon said of Hunter.
Kilgallon said diversity and inclusion are on the rise for student-athletes at Webster University.
The women’s basketball team was not able to translate pregame unity into a victory. The Gorloks took a 78-69 defeat at the hands of Greenville University. The teams will meet again in the semifinal round of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) tournament Thursday.
Despite the loss, Hunter’s fellow teammate and 2017 Webster Classic MVP Jaysea Morgan saw it as a big deal to support her attempt to bring the university together.
“We support the meaning behind it and for it to be designed and brought about by one of our very own players is a big deal,” Morgan said. “For us to support her in this is what brought us together and what means the most.”
The second hand in the #LoksHaveADream movement was Vladimir Radojkovic, a forward for the men’s basketball team. Hunter said they noticed professional teams and players routinely recognized and celebrated Black History Month, and she said she wanted to do the same.
Kilgallon cited the Cure for Cancer and homeless shelter events as more prevalent events in the past, but stated his affinity for Hunter’s idea, given the university’s goal to promote inclusion.
“The beauty of being part of a team is it helps break down barriers providing a tremendous opportunity for teammates to be exposed to diverse backgrounds and learn about each other with the end result usually that of becoming lifelong friends.” Kilgallon said.