With the conclusion of February’s Black History Month, U SPORTS reaffirmed Monday its commitment to the fight against systemic racism in Canada.
Since June 2020, U SPORTS has taken the time to reflect internally on our responsibility to the Black Lives Matter movement.
We recognize the need to do better and more to show solidarity with our Black community, and to stand up against social injustice. We will always be intolerant to racism and committed to diversity and inclusiveness, but we acknowledge and whole-heartedly agree that alone is not enough.
Through reflection and having the difficult but necessary conversations, we as an organization continue our commitment to:
- Listening to our members, student-athletes, coaches and administrators of the Black community to truly understand how we can be supportive in our national initiatives
- Reviewing our own internal practices around diversity and inclusion to ensure we are enforcing and proudly representing our communities
At the June 2020 Annual Meeting, members were unanimous in denouncing anti-Black racism and all forms of racism that affect the BIPOC community
In July, U SPORTS acknowledged the accuracy of the CBC Sports report about diversity and representation in the Canadian university sport ecosystem
Throughout the fall and winter, conversations were held by the Management Advisory Council to learn from each conference’s leadership how they are addressing equity, diversity and inclusion matters in their respective leagues.
Last month, U SPORTS highlighted the contributions of its student-athletes, coaches and alumni by initiating the first Black History Month promotional campaign – highlighted by U SPORTS Conversations, a live virtual event to discuss matters concerning the Black community in the U SPORTS ecosystem.
Looking ahead, the national office proudly announces a number of initiatives as part of its continued dedication to these efforts, including:
- Renaming its Equity Committee to the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee to better reflect and be more representative of the work being done in 2021
- Expanding the EDI Subcommittees to include both stakeholders and external experts to push efforts in various areas of focus – BIPOC, Women in Sport, LGBTQ+, Language
- Ensuring the EDI Committee and Subcommittees support all U SPORTS Standing, Operating, Sport Technical and Ad-Hoc committees when reviewing issues pertaining to equity, diversity and inclusion
- Tasking the EDI Committee with reviewing the lessons learned from the U SPORTS Conversations event to develop a go-forward strategy that will gather more information about the experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in Canadian university sport
- As transparency is one of U SPORTS’ core values, committing to the development of an EDI section on our website to share information in this realm with stakeholders
- Launching a Change Starts with U SPORTS t-shirt campaign that provides student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our community with an opportunity to raise funds to support EDI initiatives within university sport
These efforts are only the beginning, and U SPORTS looks forward to continuing to showcase today’s BIPOC leaders by listening to their experiences, educating our network and supporting our Black teammates and colleagues as they empower the next generation.