Manchester Township High School senior girls basketball standout and North Carolina commit Destiny Adams was recently forbidden from wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt during pregame warmups in an effort to bring awareness to social and racial injustice in the United States.
Adams, who is Black, went before the Manchester Board of Education last week, delivering a speech on why she felt she should be allowed to wear the shirt. However, the board ruled that shirts worn during pregame warmups must only reflect the school name — a decision Adams thinks was made before the board listened to a word she had to say.
“I was hurt because I took my time to write a speech and try to make them understand my view, because I know it’s hard because they don’t experience it,” Adams said, per Daniel LoGuidce of the Asbury Park Press. “For them to not even discuss it with each other … it was hurtful. It didn’t sit right with me.”
Adams attended the meeting with her father, Dennis, who is the principal at Manchester, and her mother, Lisa, a lawyer. Both parents spoke along with their daughter, but in the end, Destiny’s proposal was not even voted on by the board of education.
“I thought they would have somewhat understood,” Destiny said. “It’s like they didn’t really listen to me.”
According to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), there are standards for in-game uniform attire, but pregame uniform and warmup attire falls under the discretion of the member school.
“We as a Board of Education are elected to represent the whole school and our uniforms have to be uniform, that’s the whole thing,” Manchester school board president Ken Pate, who is white, said at the meeting. “So we’re going to ask that the uniforms have the school name and the student’s name if they choose and nothing else.”
Although the Manchester school board shot down Destiny’s bid to make her voice heard — a decision that made her strongly consider transferring out of the school district — her days of speaking out are far from over. Once Destiny arrives at North Carolina next year, she will once again do everything in her power to find ways to bring about positive change.
“As long as I can be a part of that,” Destiny said, “[To bring] a lot of awareness.”