LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Several programs at the University of Louisville have been incredibly active in the community over the last several months, and the men’s basketball program has been no exception.
On Saturday, all members of the team and the coaching staff held a voter registration drive at the Shawnee Park basketball courts to encourage eligible Kentucky residents to register to vote. It was part of their continued efforts to create positive change in the community in which they live in.
“It’s a really powerful thing for us to be able to bring the community together and make sure that their voices are being heard,” graduate transfer guard Charles Minlend said. “This is a really pivotal election. I lot of people have never voted or haven’t been registered, so we want to make sure that we’re part of that movement and making sure you get out there and vote.”
The drive took place just two days before the Oct. 5 deadline to register for the Nov. 3 general election. While Minlend touts the importance of taking part in this particular election, he and the rest of the team are using their platform to express the importance of voting in every election – particularly local ones.
“The effect that we are able to do that for ourselves and also get other people to do the same thing, it compounds our voices,” he said. “Making sure that the voice of the people is represented in the most important thing.”
This is not the first community event that the team has held, and it is far from the last. Last week, they held a march for equality at Cardinals Stadium following an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case. While community events are hard to hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions have been held amongst the team.
“We’ve had meetings where people just voice how they’ve felt about everything that’s going on. Guys said how they feel about the situation, the current climate, and then we ask ‘okay, what can we do about it?’,” Minlend said. “It doesn’t stop here. We’re going to definitely try to see what we can do in the future and continue to speak to the community.”
So far, the response to the Cardinals’ community activism has been overwhelmingly positive. This is mainly because the program is backing up what they are saying, and turning statements into actions.
“We’ve been investing, it’s not just one of those things where we say something. We’re trying to make actions happen,” Minlend said. “Having that manifests into what we’ve been doing and for it to continue to go.”
Minlend acknowledges that not every comment on social media regarding their community activism, but he has noticed a trend. Many people are starting to change their mindsets and develop a more open mind about the current political climate.
“Its been awesome,” he said.
(Photo of members of Louisville Men’s Basketball program: Matt McGavic/Sports Illustrated)
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