Forward Madison FC unveiled a Black Lives Matter training top on Thursday, which the team plans to wear before every game during the 2020 season. The team will donate all proceeds from sales of the training top to YWCA Madison, an organization that seeks to advance race and gender equity to create a more inclusive community.
Local artist Mike Lroy designed the training top, with input from members of the Featherstone Flamingos - an inclusive group of Forward fans that celebrates Black culture - as well as Forward Madison players.
“BIPOC people are ready for change, and a lot of us shared our frustrations and hope through street art,” said Lroy, who has painted several murals on State Street over the past months. “By wearing jerseys that show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, athletes are showing their fans that silence is violence and the time for change is now.”
Midfielder J.C. Banks, who helped connect his teammates with Lroy, said Forward Madison’s players want to be a part of creating change in the community.
“Everything that’s going on is something that I not only wanted to be a part of, but I believe in it and I’m affected by it,” Banks said. “I’m glad that we could do something to put on display, but hopefully more actions come through this.”
Featherstone Flamingos co-founder April Kigeya was the one who suggested that Lroy design the training top. Kigeya also helped select YWCA Madison, which is Featherstone’s 2020 charity partner, as the organization that will receive proceeds from the shirt.
“I feel honored that the club asked Featherstone to be a part of this and not only trusted me to find the artist, but gave us 100% control over the design,” Kigeya said.
Forward Madison’s players and staff will wear the Black Lives Matter training top for this first time before their home opener this Friday, July 31 at 7 p.m. at Hart Park in Wauwatosa. The training top is available for purchase on the Forward Madison’s web store.