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Zach Braxton dunks the ball against Black Hills State on Nov. 5. (Dalton Flandro / The Signpost)

Zach Braxton | Weber State Men’s Basketball

Zach Braxton is a 6’9″ forward/center for the men’s basketball team. Braxton is a sophomore studying communications with an emphasis in public relations and advertising.

“Black History Month is important to me because I literally would not exist without the bravery of men and women who worked as hard as they did to bring the issue of racial inequality to the forefront. I’m grateful for those people because they made it acceptable for my dad to marry my mom and for my sister and I to be able to get a college education and play college sports,” Braxton said.

“My goal in the future is to help African-American children realize that sports are a great tool to get out of poverty and tough areas and that it can help you get a degree, which is invaluable. I feel that it is important to be well-rounded and to try to excel in school and sports, and I want young African-Americans to know that sports and music isn’t the only way out, contrary to popular belief. Our minds are such a powerful weapon. I’m grateful I can use the blessing of being a college athlete, an opportunity that was given to me by many brave, Black men and women, to teach this to Black youth.”

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Xequille Harry (Weber State Athletics)

Xequille Harry | Weber State Football, Track and Field

Xequille Harry is a senior studying communications with a family relations emphasis. Harry played cornerback for the Weber State University football team. Last year, Harry joined the Weber State Track and Field team and qualified for the Big Sky Championship in the 100 meters.

Harry is working toward a career in the National Football League but wants to be a successful father and husband.

“To be an African-American student-athlete growing up, it was sort of expected of me — especially with my father having played in the NFL,” Harry said.

“I do feel like I have an opportunity to impact people by being a positive influence in their lives, by being a Christian and loving the Lord and playing for Him. Being an African-American athlete, I can help the stereotype of black athletes and having people have a positive outlook on us.”

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Richaud Gittens drives to the basket in attempt to score against SVU in Fall 2015. (The Signpost Archives)

Richaud Gittens | Weber State Men’s Basketball

Richaud Gittens is a senior at Weber State, studying professional sales. Gittens plays guard for the Weber State men’s basketball team. Gittens has been a part of two Big Sky Championship teams and has made two NCAA Tournament appearances.

“Black History affects me mentally because I get to look back at all the African-American athletes who paved the way for others to play sports today. Without them doing what they did and sacrificing, I wouldn’t be able to play the game that I love everyday,” Gittens said.

“I’m grateful for being able to wake up every morning knowing that I get to play the game of basketball and also just being able to see other African American athletes around the world play as well. As an African-American athlete, I want to be able to show other athletes that, no matter what happens, you can do anything you put your mind to and to never give up. If you want something, never take no for an answer, and continue to work hard and be great in everything you do.”

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Wide receiver Darryl Denby runs down the open field in a game against Cal Poly on Nov. 12. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

Darryl Denby | Weber State Football

Darryl Denby is a junior wide receiver and punt returner for the Weber State football team. Denby is from Murrieta, California, and is studying communications.

“When I was younger, [my parents] just tried to inform me about Black History, and they tried to let me know what happened back in their time,” Denby said. “I think you’ve still got to inform people because I know not everybody knows exactly what happened. So I think it’s important to keep Black History Month going every year.”

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Freshman guard Zharia Hale attempts a layup over the back of a CSUSB defender in Fall 2016. (The Signpost Archives)

Zharia Hale | Weber State Women’s Basketball

Zharia Hale joined the Weber State women’s basketball team this year as a freshman. Hale is from Portland, Oregon, where she led her high school team in steals, blocks and assists.

“I believe Black History Month is important because of all the struggles African-Americans went through from years ago until now,” Hale said. “I also believe that we shouldn’t just have one month — that African-American history is American history and should be studied and learned like any other history. Being able to be an African-American athlete is important to me because African-Americans weren’t all given the opportunity I have to play a sport I love and get a free education.”

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