Birmingham, Ala. - In a continuing effort to recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes beyond the field of competition, the SEC once again highlighted a Community Service Team for women's basketball for the 2020-21 season.
This marks the 23rd year for the SEC Community Service Team for women's basketball as well as for men's basketball. All league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men's and women's sports being chosen from 1999-2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.
Team • Alabama
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama women's basketball team found alternate ways to stay involved and engaged in the Tuscaloosa community and beyond. Members of the team were instrumental in the athletics department's Civic Engagement group, assisting with voter registration amongst fellow student-athletes and staff members. Altogether, the team itself had a 100 percent voter registration rate and participated in events such as Rise to Vote and Vote.org. Towards the end of the summer, the team participated in a Unity march with several other teams on campus and were part of Alabama's Be the Change PSA that airs before all of the Crimson Tide's home events that have videoboards. In February, the team is participating in the Advancement of Blacks in Sports Historical Hidden Figures initiative where they selected Alabama's Faculty Athletics Representative, Dr. James King Jr., as their honoree. Additionally, the team has engaged with fans through virtual team events and has read books via virtual platforms to the Alberta Head Start program.
Macy Weaver • Arkansas
Senior • Forward •Davis Junction, Ill.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, senior Macy Weaver has found a way to stay involved in her community. During this season, on top of her classes and commitment to Arkansas Women's Basketball, Weaver has found time to write letters of reassurance and thanks to health care workers, while also corresponding with players in the Miracle League who had their seasons canceled. The senior forward has also participated in Book Hogs, a program designed to read to local school children.
Team • Auburn
Led by senior Unique Thompson and redshirt junior Kiyae' White, the Auburn women's basketball team has remained engaged in community service efforts and social justice initiatives through a trying 2020-21 season. Through the efforts of Auburn's SAAC, the team participated in voter registration drives in the fall. Thompson and White participated in an Auburn Athletics Social Justice Forum in October, along with head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, and both were involved in social justice meetings with Director of Athletics Allen Greene and other Auburn student-athletes. Thompson has been active with Auburn's SAAC, and White has been part of SAAC, Auburn CONNECT, the SEC's Women's Basketball Leadership Council and Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice.
Faith Dut • Florida
Sophomore • Forward • Vancouver, B.C.
The sophomore forward is a founding member of the Black Student Athlete Council at UF, a group that she helped launch this past May. Dut, serving as one of the women's basketball team's voices on the council, helps serve as a liaison between the Black student athlete-athlete population at UF and the administration. Acting as an advocate for Black student-athletes on campus, Dut, a journalism major, and her colleagues meet bi-weekly to discuss experiences and issues. Bringing forth an excellent perspective, the Canada native played a key role in the #GatorsVote campaign in the fall and helped create social media campaigns to continue to raise awareness regarding the Council's social justice movement. Dut and representatives from for across all the Gators' athletic teams, helped organize marches and other events that aimed to call out racial inequality and helped form community bonds and drive change through conversations, workshops, collaboration with others, and action.
Team • Georgia
'Show Up' has been the theme for the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team this year. Head coach Joni Taylor and her staff issued a challenge to their players to show up, not just on the court, but also in the community. Georgia has played an active role during the COVID-19 crisis and in social justice initiatives. As a team, Georgia collected close to 150 water bottles for the Boys and Girls Club of Athens this past September. Taylor, along with several student-athletes, issued a challenge on social media, asking supporters to drop off new, re-fillable water bottles at Stegeman Coliseum. The community responded in a big way, with over 80 bottles collected in the first two hours alone. For the Boys and Girls Club, COVID protocols eliminated the use of water fountains, so the organization needed new, re-fillable water bottles. When the Lady Bulldogs found out about this, they immediately wanted to help. Georgia also helped donate Christmas gifts to families at Stroud Elementary and collected food items for the Northeast Georgia Food Bank. Through Joni Taylor's Beyond Basketball organization, the Lady Bulldogs also took in donations of snacks for The Cottage of Athens - a non-profit that raises awareness of sexual assault and child abuse. The Lady Bulldogs were also active in the Georgia Way's 'Dawgs to the Polls' initiative, which worked to ensure that every student-athlete at UGA was registered to vote. During this past election season, Georgia women's basketball student-athletes volunteered many hours to serve at polls around the area.
Team • Kentucky
Members of the University of Kentucky women's basketball team sought this offseason to bring awareness to police brutality, inform their peers on how these issues affect the black community, encourage their peers to exercise their right to vote, demand justice for injustices, provide mental health information and resources and spread the love through these tough times. The team took time and held meetings to organize, plan and execute on their own a social justice march and unity fair through campus. The team led a walk-through campus to start the day's events, followed by a unity fair to have conversations with peers and others in the community. The team invited the UK Police Department chief to come and participate in a question-and-answer segment. The event was held in mid-September and was attended by other sports teams at UK, employees, fans, and community members.
Team • LSU
The LSU women's basketball team continues to work together to bring awareness to the social injustices faced by the Black community. Senior Karli Seay led the charge on voter registration education, leading to a video that encouraged eligible voters to become registered voters in each state represented on the team. Sophomore Domonique Davis became one of the founding leaders of the LSU Black Student-Athlete Association. She was instrumental in coordinating a joint unity rally with Southern University in June and a BSAA-led departmental rally in September. The team as a whole participated in both events. During the summer months, the team participated in Zoom calls with Black alumni, Baton Rouge law enforcement leaders, and the East Baton Rouge Parish district attorney's staff to learn their program history and share concerns with community leaders. The team is currently participating in the Historical Hidden Figures program in conjunction with ABIS and BLAAC to honor Black alumni and bring history to the local elementary schools through pre-filmed book readings. In addition to student-athlete involvement, coaches and members of the staff are serving as members of LSU Athletics three diversity and inclusion councils - Leadership, Staff and Coaches, and Student-Athlete Councils.
Team • Ole Miss
The Ole Miss women's basketball team worked together in several different capacities to not only serve the Lafayette-Oxford-University community, but to also fight against systemic racism and promote social justice initiatives. The team lead the department as its first to achieve 100-percent voter registration, and also participated in several Zoom sessions to better understand the importance of voting and what was on the 2020 ballot. The team participated in two different student-athlete led marches, including one to protest the Confederate statue that stands on The Square in Oxford. On social media, the team helped curate a campaign highlighting the identities of minority student-athletes and produced two PSAs highlighting the injustices Blacks face today - one of which plays before each Ole Miss home game. Ole Miss has also participated in the ABIS/BLAAC Historical Hidden Figures program, which honors Black alumni and included staff members conducting virtual book readings to local schoolchildren. As part of the Stronger Together initiative in conjunction with all Mississippi schools, the Ole Miss women were focused on engaging the community in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work focusing on literacy, financial literacy, and food sustainability. The Ole Miss women advanced literacy efforts by reading several books to students at elementary schools in the Delta, and the team also created 150 snack bags for children in the Delta who were impacted by food insecurity. Additionally, the team adopted a family to provide Christmas to a family in the Oxford community.
Myah Taylor • Mississippi State
Redshirt Junior • Guard • Olive Branch, Miss.
A leader both on and off the court, Myah Taylor has been a staple in the Starkville community during the last four years. This season, she's been involved in two community service events. The first was a video recording that was sent to encourage frontline workers for their service during the pandemic. Taylor has been a part of several trips to local hospitals during the last two years to support workers and patients. The second event was a Auxiliary Reading Railroad. Taylor partnered with organizations around Mississippi to read to children. Since 2019, she's recorded nearly 10 hours of community service.
Team • Missouri
The Mizzou women's basketball team has used its platform in many different ways to promote equality and social justice over the 2020 offseason and throughout the 2020-21 campaign. Organized by Mizzou's Black Student-Athlete Association (BSAA), members of the team participated in a September march through campus to display a show of unity against racial inequality. The team has carried on this display of unity into its season, as the team participates in a moment of unity before every home game. In addition, the team has had numerous team meetings and discussions revolving around the issues that surround our world today, in attempt to build a better tomorrow for everyone.
The team remains heavily active within the Columbia community despite the pandemic, as the team has participated in virtual events with the Boys & Girls Club and has read the morning announcements for a local elementary school during the month of February.
Laeticia Amihere • South Carolina
Sophomore • Forward • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
With many community service opportunities limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, Amihere continued to make an impact on many aspects of the community through her work with the homeless, the underserved and children. She took leadership roles in organizing food drives for underserved communities and a drive to collect Christmas presents and pandemic-related necessities for a children's shelter. She has volunteered at Transitions homeless shelter and wrote Christmas letters for Children's Hospital. Amihere has also been involved in various social justice activities at the University, including overseeing various voter registration initiatives. She organized and orchestrated a campus-wide Zoom call to speak about efforts to improve campus diversity. In addition to engaging with petitions to spark systematic changes on campus, she has attended and spoken at rallies in support of changing building names.
Team • Tennessee
The Lady Vols offered their time and energy at Sunshine Industries, an organization serving special needs adults in the Knoxville area; participated in UT Women's Hoops' annual "adopt a family" event for Christmas, chipping in to buy toys, clothing and other items for a local family in need; volunteered with the Salvation Army; read virtually to children, including a Black History Month series featuring selected excerpts from Jamia Wilson's book, "Young, Gifted and Black"; distributed card-making kits with Knox Area Rescue Ministries; assisted in food collection packaging with FISH pantries; and ran collaboratively in the Forget Me Not 5K for Alzheimer's, which benefits the Pat Summitt Foundation.
Team • Texas A&M
The Aggies have used their platform in many different ways during this offseason and the 2020-21 campaign. They brought to light multiple cause such as black lives matter, family and women's rights during their "Why" game. Each player and coach wore shoes with illustrations on them of their "Why" on national television. The team organized a blood drive for individuals with sickle cell, where they collected enough donations to save upwards of 133 lives. Team captain Ciera Johnson helped found the B.L.U.E. print, which stands for Black Leaders who Undertake Excellence - and is a student-athlete led organization to provide leadership opportunities and a sense of community while empowering Black individuals to use their voice. The team participates in many of the functions and are helping educate student-athletes, staff members and local residents. The team took to social media and used their voice to encourage individuals to vote in their local and national elections. It created its own video echoing the importance of exercising that right and put out informative messaging on a consistent basis. The team led by sophomore Jordan Nixon, created a women's support group made up of local professionals that could teach the team how to use their voice for the future. When George Floyd was killed, the Aggies helped organize a Unity Walk with the A&M Athletics Department. The peaceful demonstration toured the campus and offered individuals to speak on the events that were occurring nationally.
Team • Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt women's basketball's team members worked together throughout the year to fight for social justice, combat childhood illiteracy and host a Miracle Child from the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. As a team, the Commodores created, edited, and produced their own video message for the Black Lives Matter movement in the pursuit of social justice and equity for all, which encouraged everyone to be the change they want to be in the world, as well as to volunteer, vote and donate. As part of those efforts, through Vanderbilt's newly formed Black Student-Athlete Group, several Commodores volunteered for the voter registration drive for Nashville residents at Vanderbilt Stadium. The team also sponsored Mr. C's Reading Club challenge in February. The reading program encourages students in pre-K through fifth grade at Metro Nashville Public Schools, and the Commodores provided live book readings via zoom to local elementary schools throughout the month. In addition, the Commodores have hosted via zoom their 12-year-old Miracle Child, Megan, who suffered from brain bleeding and underwent surgery. As part of the initiative, the Commodores have raised money for Dancing Dores, the annual philanthropy program benefiting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.