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NEW YORK – The Columbia women’s basketball program has launched a season-long campaign directed at allyship and supporting Black women. All 15 members of the Lions have signed on for this initiative.

“We are dedicating our season to supporting, uplifting and amplifying the lives and voices of Black women, and being great allies,” tri-captain Sienna Durr said. “Black women are at the very core of women’s basketball; they are at the core of what we do.

“Additionally, allyship is extremely important to us, especially in a sport and on a team with so much diversity. We must be able to lean on each other no matter what.”

The campaign encompasses supporting marginalized communities, including but not limited to the LGBTQIA+ community, the Black community and those affected by any form of discrimination. The Lions will display their support of this initiative through several action items this season. One of those items is a video that will play during every Columbia home game, narrated by all 15 players, in which the players express what it means to be an ally.

“I am immensely proud of our players and staff for standing together on these important social issues,” sixth-year head coach Megan Griffith said. “We have all done a lot of work over the past 20 months and our entire program is committed to continue taking real action in and around our community.”

The Lions are taking their campaign into the local community this season. The players have vowed to mentor young girls of color in the Harlem community by connecting with local organizations and implementing their SEED (Success, Envision, Empowerment, Determination) mentorship model, which has already been used in their work with The Harlem Children’s Zone and Girls, Inc.

The team is also volunteering at community basketball clinics, such as Grow Our Game. This program empowers the next generation of young girls to become fierce, amazing leaders through confidence, passion and community impact, all while learning the game of basketball. Columbia will also support and promote black woman-owned business in the local area.

“Being that we are in a space that was built up by Black women, it is important for us to continue to build on our momentum from last year and continue to support our community through taking action,” Kaitlyn Davis added.

Before every game, all Columbia players will wear shooting shirts with the phrase “8 Against Hate.” These shirts signify the commitment from all eight Ivy League schools to stop the spread of hate and reaffirm their shared commitment to fight all forms of hatred.

Columbia opens the 2021-22 season on Tuesday, hosting Hampton from Schiller Court at Levien Gymnasium. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

For the latest on the Columbia women’s basketball, follow @CULionsWBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or on the web at GoColumbiaLions.com.
 

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