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 utilise 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 organisations 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 organised 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 organisations to strategise short term and long -term initiatives to benefit our communities
Consult and build partnerships with additional leading organisations 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
What can members do?
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 (USA)