The Flying Squirrels agreed and, together with Noah Scalin, a Richmond-based artist, Cheatham helped design the t-shirts which were handed out to 1,000 fans on Friday.
It was important that the post specifically use the word “racism,” Cheatham said, because they wanted something more direct than words like “equality” or “together.”
“It is very important that people know that the moral and principle of the squirrels and this community is that all racism will not be tolerated,” Cheatham said.
For Shank, painting The Diamond – a building he saw as something of a “Richmond Landmark” – was one of his proudest projects. Shank, who is white, wanted other black muralists to work alongside him, but the schedules of those he requested were ultimately not aligned after the project was postponed to 2021. Shank stressed that he is t was more to paint a message than a real mural. The message was clear because he didn’t want flowery artwork to distract from it.
“I was touched, I was so touched,” Johnson Rice said of the mural.
But beyond the jerseys, the mural and the retired # 34 jersey, the Flying Squirrels have done more internal thinking. They brought in people of color, including Cheatham, to talk to the team admins about how to be a more inclusive organization. They had individual and group conversations about their social justice role as a leading business in the community, Parnell said.