Men’s Basketball Builds Inclusive Environment

Men’s basketball shares team involvement surrounding DEI

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Beginning in the summer and through the fall semester, Head Coach B.J. Dunne and his men’s basketball student-athletes have invested time and energy into a number of activities focused on diversity and inclusion, creating conversations to educate, empower, support, and engage others to be leaders in the Gettysburg College community.

“I’ve Got Your Back” is the theme of day two of the NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign, and the men’s basketball team has lived that ideal over the last few months in an effort to foster a more inclusive environment on the court and on campus.

“The main goal has been to engage in brave conversations and normalize racial and social justice just like when we talk about basketball,” said Dunne. “So much of what we have done with our team surrounds education and understanding the difference between experiencing racism and understanding racism. We’re making sure that we as a team and individuals live with empathy and compassion.”

Dunne’s team has made it a priority to seek education and talk about the issues surrounding racial and social justice. Some of the education has included documentary series and videos that depict racial injustices throughout history. Other educational tools include essays and perspectives breaking down the history of racism and addressing white privilege.

Collectively, the Bullets have engaged in current event discussions by sharing articles, podcasts, and videos on racial and social justice. The team has been active on social media, sharing personal experiences and laying out information centering around important historical topics such as Reconstruction, Jim Crow Laws, redlining, and the G.I. Bill.

The Bullets continue their education on Friday, October 30, as Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies Scott Hancock will give a tour of the nearby Gettysburg Battlefield and discuss the historical perspective of the great battle with staff and student-athletes.

First-hand experiences from people on the front line of social change have also come into play. The team engaged with two public defenders, Eli Northrup of the Bronx Defenders, and Nathan Mensah, of the DC Public Defender Service, about the criminal justice system. In addition, NBA player Malcolm Miller from the Toronto Raptors spoke to the team about what NBA players have been doing for racial justice on the court and in their own local communities.

In just a few short months, Dunne himself has emerged as a leader among the basketball world. He was recently named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Committee on Racial Reconciliation, which is charged with addressing issues related to racial injustice within both intercollegiate athletics and society at large. He engages with colleagues across the country on all professional levels on this important topic. Recently, Dunne was asked to present to 90-plus coaches from 48 NCAA programs as part of “A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth,” which seeks to energize, activate, and empower allies in the pursuit of a shared purpose to erase racism and dismantle systemic oppression in America.

At Gettysburg, Dunne and several of his student-athletes serve key roles as members of the Department of Athletics Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The group has developed a program called BURG ALLIES, which condemns bias and discrimination of all kinds and seeks to strengthen and unify the campus community.

With Dunne leading the way, the men’s basketball program is quickly emerging as a leader for diversity and inclusion on the Gettysburg campus. The student-athletes have been active within the team in educating and taking action, and they’re looking to spread their message of hope and respect to the rest of the community.

“My goal is to make the spaces more comfortable for everyone on campus,” said Elijah William’23 (Washington, D.C./Sidwell Friends). “I want people to understand why they shouldn’t do these things and why they shouldn’t say these things. I think the one thing that we can do when we are in person or at school is lead by example, and also be those figureheads on campus that can encourage anti-racist actions.”
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This story was originally posted on the Gettysburg College Website.

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