Athletes for Hope

Action Steps Towards Racial Equality

The recent murder of George Floyd and so many others and the protests that have followed have brought violence, police brutality, and institutionalized racism to the fore of our national conscience. We are outraged and saddened by these murders.  Athletes for Hope (AFH) is committed to advocating for racial equality and we stand with the Black community in the fight against systemic racism. We are dedicated to taking the steps needed to ensure that we meet this moment and live up to the values we espouse and which guide us. The fight against racism will require a long-term, collective effort and willingness to listen, discuss, plan, and act. AFH plans to utilize its powerful platform and empower its membership of over 7,000 professional, Olympic and college athletes to bring hope to communities and spread positivity where there is despair.

Since its inception 14 years ago, AFH has empowered and connected our athlete members to give back to underserved communities around the world. It is what we do, EVERY SINGLE DAY.  AFH athletes have expressed their passion for racial equality through their participation in formal and informal discussions with one another and leading organizations in the racial equality space about how we can work together as one to make a deeper impact.

In our 14-year history the most revealing experience for me personally was an All-Star Game workshop in New Orleans that we organized in collaboration with the NBA. We brought 20 Black teenagers from an underserved community together with 20 armed police officers from the same community. We also included players and coaches from the New Orleans Pelicans. We discussed extremely difficult issues surrounding race, perception, fear, and social justice. It was a painful and eye-opening discussion that was a microcosm of the societal issues that are facing our county. We have a tremendous amount to learn and it starts with listening.

AFH can and must do more to address racial inequality and systemic racism. In that spirit, AFH will:

  • Convene regular discussions with Athletes for Hope members and community organizations to strategize short term and long -term initiatives to benefit our communities
  • Consult and build partnerships with additional leading organizations and individuals involved in advocating for racial equality so the AFH staff, its athlete members and other interested stakeholders can learn about their experiences and gain tools to have difficult conversations when they encounter racism
  • Modify our “Words of Hope” video curriculum to offer athletes the opportunity to promote social justice and speak out against racism
  • Integrate discussions about racial equality into the AFH workshop curriculum

We invite you to join in this fight with us, and welcome your input as we work together to make lasting change.

 

Ivan Blumberg
Chief Executive Officer
Athletes for Hope