Black Student-Athlete Summit, Part II

Day 2. 

7 am. Breakfast with the Cal team, sharing experiences and reflections from the first day among each other; students and administrators/staff…

9 am. Black Lives Matter: Black College Athletes and Police Reform w/Ramogi Huma, Kelis Barton, Elisha Guidry. They presented their product, sTAReform, an organization established in an effort to stand together to advance reform. Their given blueprint of change was told as 1) Find solutions, 2) Get informed, 3) Raise awareness, and 4) Get legislation to change. The importance of marching was highlighted. STAReform was presented with the focus on unity, protecting life against police officers, and reminding us as SA of our power to push reforms. They stated that each college institution holds the responsibility to empower and provide resources to their student-athletes (S-A). An example of a reform that they provided was to ensure 24/7 deployment of mental health professionals w/law enforcement officers for calls regarding the mentally ill. 

9.30am: Dreams & Nightmares. A dialogue on the Black S-A experience at Elite Schools w/ Vanderbilt and three student-athletes from different Universities. In this segment, they broke down the concept of stereotyping vs supporting. In their discussion, concepts such as double consciousness vs imposter syndrome were referenced, as black student-athletes stand out, which makes it even more important to know one’s worth. This furthered the discussion on culture, highlighting how hard it is to emerge in culture.

Mental health & holistic wellness was also mentioned in this context, as there are challenges found in trust, both due to accessibility and not being given a person that one can relate to. I appreciated the emphasis on what call to action that we need to hear: 1) To not get caught up with problems but solutions, 2) The lack of accountability, where we (S-A) do all the right things, we reach out, ask for help but yet where is the help 3) Give us sports psychologists we can relate to, 4) Know what to ask the administration for, 5) Athletic department to branch out, where non-minorities learn about the culture and there is diversity within the staff, and to 5) Support and promote athletics more.

10am: Meeting the Needs of Black Women w/Thais Bass-Moore, interviewed by her husband Mr. Moore. Now, after this session, I found myself a role model地nd I was starstruck the rest of the trip (still am to this day..). The session began with Thais video of Fly – BAWSE, followed by Thais story; interested in holistic development. Right off the back I wish Thais and her organization were introduced prior to the video, so I could more easily understand the video, however, I was able to put the pieces together throughout her empowering session. Her story had me dialed in from the very first moment, from her experience of depression and suicidal thoughts to her surrounding of love and family saving her. She shared a couple of key parts to her story: 1) Studying abroad 2) Self-love, 3) Ship – relationships and 4) Spirituality.

Thais then raised awareness of the toxic relationships within college athletics, where the ratio of men to women is 3/1, where we find stories on both sides. Mr. Moore posed a question about how she tends to self-care as a care worker. In her answer, she spoke to our contemporary culture that views self-care as sinful. Thais highlighted the importance of having to START WITH ME. She provided a number of key grounding reminders for us all to tend to, 1) Therapy, 2) Practice radical grace – changing the narrative, maybe you did it because of a reason, so then you accept and say; yes I did it BUT I understand how I got there), 3) Dont be scared of emotions, treat your emotions as guests, ask what you need, and treat them well, 4) Tell your story – knowing you have someone to go to – pain equals purpose; know you can do it, as we are all still trying to grow 5) Take up space – do things out of the box, write them down and to put a date on it, and 6) Love yourself. 

I still smile to this day of her greatest success story, where she shined light on the importance of GIVING LOVE, going above and beyond position and role, and loving each other.PLEASE go and support and follow this amazing person (my role model): FLI Girls podcast and her book; Syllabus for black women: love life. Enjoy life to the fullest

My role model…Thais Bass-Moore

10.30am: We Wont Shut Up and Dribble: Black Student-Athlete Activism. WHAT NOW? Creating & Sustaining Organizations. The speaker of this event were students from Washington State University, and I am extremely impressed by their idea, execution, and last but not least, their boldness. They shared how they founded their organization in 2019 by getting friends together, where they gathered a sense of community and allyship. To me, this was a very insightful session, as I have been wanting to create a community with the purpose of providing allyship, but I have not known where to begin and how to do so. Therefore, their humbleness in sharing their experience was well received. Their goals were growth, development, maintaining, and retaining, with a purpose of tending to care, mental health, and culture, where they further broke down each goal and shared what each goal entailed…:

1) Growth: what is needed to do to be sustainable? Attendance, marketing/promoting. After each meeting, they would go through what wins and/or what challenges occurred. 2) Developing: What is our plan? In order to achieve this goal, they valued discussion, attainable, strategic plan (what is realistic). 3) Maintain and retain, answering the question how to keep this for years to come? Focusing on involvement by valuing the importance of the sense of community. To be inclusive, not exclusive, where each individual successfully benefits self and team. In addition, each community member is asked Are you willing to put in the work? Their encouragement is focused on the self and community together.

10.45 AM. B.L.U.E. Print: Black Leaders who Undertake Excellence w/ A community that started as a result of being a part of past BSAS. A mission to be a safe space to evolve outside of sports. They spoke about the importance to why community is important for black student-athletes at Texas A&M because out of 72,000 students on campus, only 2.8 % of the student body is black. Laying their foundation included unity march, providing financial support, creating impact, host inclusive events and exclusive events. Tips of how to get started were posed: 1) DO research on current diversity – ex: where can organizations align, 2) Generate conversations – understand what you are catering to, 3) Contact athletic administration – schedule meetings to discuss ways to get started (rules), 4) Reach out to other organized institutions w/similar affinity groups

11 AM. Two student-athletes from the University of Texas spoke to campus changes, where their call to action arrived as a result of the murder of George Floyd. Consequently, S-A got together and created a huge list of demands, and in order to be heard and for action to take place, these S-A used their own platforms. Their outreach program demanded that 25 % of the athletic departments revenue be used for S-A organizations. The video they presented stated, by us – for us. During their sessions, a quote that stood out to me was I will always be an athlete, and I will forever be a black female. Lastly, they finished their session with three truths to change, 1) Gonna piss a lot of people of, 2) Be rational – ask for everything, and 3) Get comfortable being uncomfortable. 

11.10 AM. Destiny Determined! A Conversation w/Destiny Littleton, interviewed by Dr. Moore. Another HUMBLING experience to sit in on, where I could not hold back tears… Destiny, a great basketball player and a true inspiration to what hard work and dedication will result in, shared her story She explained how athletics was always important in her life, but simultaneously was her academics. Destiny spoke to her ability to trust those who wanted to help her, trusting the right ones. Basketball came easy to her, it was her outlet, even during the time when she did not have a bed to sleep on, as those little things did not matter. 

This made me think about my journey in athletics. Where school never came easy to me, however, sports did and so I found myself investing all my time into the athlete Mina, unconsciously developing an identity solely attached to, and dependent on, athletics. An identity and reality I would come away with until injuries began rolling in from left to right, and consequently, not having other outlets/identities to lean on. 

Destiny was asked how she handled injuries, and she answered how having a therapist implemented on her helped, however, when she was given anti-depressants that medically are given to people who are diagnosed with anorexia, and consequently developed not really injury but one that inhibited her to play to her best ability. Her transfer to Southern California highlighted how she is MORE THAN A WOMAN and MORE THAN AN ATHLETE…

11.25 AM. Owning the NIL Era on Facebook & Instagram, Emerging and Creating College Sports w/Nick Marqez from Oregon. This segment spoke to the Black Enterprise in terms of building your brand and preparing for whats next. Here building blocks for a personal plan was presented, beginning with 1) Branded content, where one chooses own monetization – as brands look for personality and professionalism, 2) IG shopping – creating own mercy line, 3) User pay, 4) Promotions, 5) Social good directed towards fundraisers, and lastly, 6) Whats coming, here they presented Meta-verse and IG subscription. Key takeaways were building your brand, creating relationships w/business who have similar values, and lastly, building your brand before anyone elses 

BREAK.

2 PM. B-S-A Breakout Session. Sports is an Avenue, Not Destination. An enjoyable interacting session, organized by Devin Walker.

In this interacting session, sports was presented as an avenue or road, and not the destination. In other words, our paths do not end here as student-athletes. We must not let the sport use us, but rather us the sport. Let it open doors for you, as we all are more than an athlete. So many people want to go pro (I even have had, and still have aspirations to do so) but the truth is that about 2 % go pro. Therefore, we must have another plan at hand, to invest time to our craft by striping our universities of all the resources they have…

We spent time narrowing down our core values, asking ourselves if people around me think that I reflect those values, and answering what actions I can take towards those values…. questions and answers I am still working on to this day.

Then we went into personal mission statement, reflection on 1) What would you tell your younger self? 2) What do we want for our community? 3) What do you want from future generations?

Then, Jen Fry took the floor and she spoke from solely her heart and experience. Jen deconstructed the concept of conflict, asking us what our relationship to conflict is, both professionally and personally. To build the skill, she posed, we must ustilize love and empathy. For her sessions, she stated a couple of ground rules: to be vulnerable, brave, uncomfortable, thoughtful of intent, and to be open to new and differences – with an objective to understand self content. She explained how our relationship to conflict is related to trauma. One can be conflict avoidant, in which case there needs to be room to talk about it, as there may be people in your life who should not be in your life but who stay because you are conflict avoidant… Or one may be aggressive, as this serves as an emotion to keep you protected. Others may be passive aggressive through manipulative actions behind the scenes that causes harm to others and self. Lastly, one may be assertive when advocating for oneself, as we must know what we need while simultaneously know our boundaries, and in doing so we must understand that people do not like assertiveness.

She then posed a set of follow up questions 1) “Why do you manage conflict this way?” highlighting how someone has taught your mode of reaction. 2) “What is your relationship to trauma?” tying it to the correlation between conflict and trauma, which determines how you treat others when in conflict? 3) “How do you expect to be treated when in conflict?” making us think of if we have any boundaries. 4) “What is your body language when in conflict?” making us think about how we stand when we are disagreeng. 5) “How do you lead when in conflict?”

In breakout sessions, we discussed several questions, one being: “Hardest part of talking to coaches about concerns” which was agreed to be their lack of experience, understanding, and/or empathy….

Jen Fry had a BIG voice, I felt that she saw all of us, and she was not afraid of speaking HER truth. You can find her at info@JenFlyTalks.com or www.JenFryTalks.com.

Last thing on the Tuesday agenda was a career fare where some of the names were Comcast, Recruiting Analytics, Meta, KNG..

The day ended with a big dinner with all Pac 12 athletes and professionals who were a part of the BSAS. In the midst of ice-breaking activities and introduction of all DEIBJ Staff members, Kenny Donaldson – Associate Athletic Director, Sports and Administration at UCLA Athletics, shared some words that I had to write down… “A no might just mean ‘not now’,” and “when people say; this is not what we do here opens an opportunity to look at how we can change to work towards solutions,” and lastly, “you may not be able to see the shade of the trees you plant, but lay the seeds anyway” Thank you, Kenny Donaldson.

Lastly, I want raise the name Julie Rousseau, the Associate Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at USC. I think we can both agree that there simply was a connection of beauty and light…as she quotes “light knows light…”

The whole Cal team.

Take good care

Mina Marie Anglero

Day 3 (last one) coming soon……

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