The First Amendment is often hailed as the cornerstone of American pride and democracy — but it has been historically undermined and is often challenged even today. Athletes, despite being amongst the most prominent public figures in the United States, face constant pressureto hide their personal views and avoid acts of protests. In 2018, Laura Ingraham of Fox News made headlines when she told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble,” but she was not the first or last to express these sentiments.

At LMU, however, the women’s basketball team has taken a position that stands in direct contrast to many professional leagues, encouraging players to stand up for what they believe in. Through their new Social Justice Committee, players are advocating for issues they are passionate about, including mental health, racial justice and environmental reform. As part of the Loyolan’s annual First Amendment Week celebration, we are proud to present Speak Up and Dribble — a series highlighting and commending the efforts of the LMU women’s basketball team.

The Loyolan would like to thank coaches Charity Elliott and Emily Ben-Jumbo; director of basketball operations Daisy Feder; and LMU student-athletes: Ciera Ellington, Ariel Johnson, Haley Herdman, Khari Clark and Jasmine Jones. Loyolan staffers Chris Benis and Kacie Thielmann were responsible for the majority of the content, along with video producers Jesse Ray Payne and Owen Tait.

The project was supervised by Veronica Backer-Peral, Maddie Cindrich, Alyssa Story and Molly Box.

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First Amendment Week (FAW) exists to celebrate champions of expression and to encourage others to exercise that freedom. When ESPN sportswriter Jemele Hill was a FAW Speaker, she explained her philosophy for social justice as an incremental battle: "Try your best to get people to move 10%, r…