On Sept. 15, the varsity girls soccer team from Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon, headed to its game 15 miles away thinking about more than soccer.
The game was at Newberg High School, where the day before the principal told media outlets students allegedly participated in a “Slave Trade’’ Snapchat group that targeted Black students at the high school. Additionally, the school board in Newberg, a city of about 22,000, has been pursuing a ban on Black Lives Matter and Pride Imagery for weeks and a staff member at the Newberg School District showed up for work on Friday in blackface.
So before the soccer game Sept. 15, members of Southridge’s girls team kneeled during the national anthem in what later was described as an act of solidarity.
“Players on the Southridge girls' soccer team were aware of earlier news coverage about Black students in Newberg being targeted in a virtual ‘slave trade,’ ” Shellie Bailey-Shah, Public Communications Officer for Beaverton School District, told USA TODAY Sports by email Wednesday. “They chose to take a knee to show support for our players of color and players of color on the Newberg team.’’
The Southridge Skyhawks beat Newberg, 2-0, and a photo posted on the Southridge athletics Instagram account shows 18 of the 22 players kneeling and all of the players holding hands. Read the caption, “Way to stand together tonight Skyhawks!’’
The more than 80 comments posted since were largely favorable.
Wrote Heidi Pender, “As a Newberg parent of a black player, I want to again say thank you to the Southridge team for the ways that you showed up last night. I appreciate your message and your bravery. I know it felt scary to come play in Newberg last night. I'm so sorry you were not received with kindness by some of the parents. But I want you to know there are people in Newberg who appreciate you!”
Tami Erion, principal at Newberg High School, referred questions to the Newberg School District. Attempts to reach a district official for comment were unsuccessful.