When protestors across the globe took to the streets to demand social justice and racial equity, Cal State Fullerton’s head basketball coach Dedrique Taylor considered how he might respond, and inspire his team comprised primarily of Black student athletes.
Taylor understood the significance of the message he would deliver to his team, and the opportunity before them. His message was clear; as young adults, their opinions matter and their voices must be heard.
In an unprecedented response, the team, along with all coaches and support staff, registered to vote in the Nov. 3 election and participate in their constitutional right, the team announced on Sept. 22, National Voter Registration Day.
Jalen Harris, a community college transfer student who will join many of his teammates in voting for the first time, said, “talking about the social injustice we are seeing across the country can certainly bring awareness, but voting has a chance to bring real change.”
The experience of voting in the November election carries a far greater significance for the players than simply casting a ballot, Taylor said.
“I hope this experience is a first step in teaching these players how to become professional adults,” he said. “This is not about a moment in time, but yet the start of a movement where these players have an opportunity to be part of generational change that will impact their families, spouses, and children long after I’m gone.”
Titan Athletics recently launched Voices of the Heard, a new anti-racism initiative that spotlights voices in the Titan Athletics community, including student athletes, coaches, administrators, staff and campus leaders.