Lower Merion boys' basketball team stands in solidarity with marginalized groups

ARDMORE, Pa. (WPVI) -- As the National Anthem played Friday night, the Lower Merion High School boys' basketball team once again wore the T-shirts that have sparked nationwide attention and huge support from the community.

"We're proud of them. What senior boys have it together enough to not only write and do something like that?" said mother Janette Fennel.

The T-shirts read, "I am a Muslim. I am a refugee. I am an immigrant. I am an American. I am an Ace."

The decision to wear the T-shirts came after the team struggled with the best way to express themselves during the National Anthem. Najja Walker, a Muslim, chooses to kneel.

"We just felt it was time to come out and show that we support everybody, no matter your race, religion, background," said Walker.

The game against Central Bucks was the fifth time the team donned the shirts, which they insists is not a statement to President Trump or a commentary on his policies.

"Some people on our team their families support Trump. They support Trump. But they're all against the hate. They don't like the hate," said Walker.

The boys' message is finding support - both in the stands and on social media.

"It seems they're all one. And they're focused and just a positive image they're showing," said Milton Thomas of New Castle, Delaware.

Some spectators who disagreed with the team's stance wouldn't speak on camera.

But Walker's mother says most of the response has been positive. So far, the team has raised over $1,000 for the ACLU from the sale of the T-shirts.

"It's not based on a message of divide or a message of who's right or wrong. It's about free thinking, our free will and our thoughts, which should be free as well, and our expression of them needs to be equally free," said Najja's mother, Muneera Walker.

District officials say they respect the students' rights to express themselves. And while the team is progressing in the playoffs, Friday was the final night they will be wearing the T-shirts.

In a statement they say, "We are proud of what we accomplished, but don't want the message of our actions to get lost in political debates or internet comments."
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