Freedom Riders Appreciated at Valley

Valley’s boys’ volleyball team wearing the Freedom Riders t-shirts on May 5th in appreciation.

Valeria Garcia Alcala, Reporter

The Freedom Riders’s journey was celebrated by Valley athletes, such as the volleyball and swim teams, on Wednesday, May 5.

The teams showed their support to the Freedom Riders by wearing shirts that stated “Nothing can stop what we can do together,” which is a quote by the company Nike. Assistant Principal Thomas Smith said that the athletic department and admin believe that cultural differences should be celebrated, and what better way to celebrate than by joining their teams at school in an educational way.

“Sixty years ago on May 4th, the Riders seeked out to end segregation in bussing; I just thought the timing was perfect to unify under one message,” Smith said.

Ryan Max Ocampo, Valley’s swim team coach, said that as athletes they wanted to show their solidarity. The swim team wore these shirts on May 5th during warm ups to honor the first Freedom Riders, a movement during the Civil Rights Era that unified people during an oppressive system like segregation on busses. Ocampo said that wearing these shirts not only honored the Freedom Riders but also meant a lot to the culture they have in the swim team: no matter if a student is new or has been on the swim team for a long time, they are stronger together.

“Whether you are an expert swimmer or a brand new novice, whether you are a freestyle sprinter or a breast stroke specialist, you are part of the team, and your individual merits are respected contributions,” Ocampo said. “We are stronger together, and that is the mindset we try to instill in all members of our team. Our team is very diverse. We have students from different programs and backgrounds, ability and motivation. I hope these shirts show our inclusivity and appreciation for each other and serve as an invitation to join our team and our take in our team culture.”