AthletesCAN Stands with Black and Indigenous Communities

Ottawa (June 5) - The recent incidents of discrimination and violence perpetrated against Black and Indigenous individuals and communities are atrocious. They are the latest examples of centuries long institutionalized racism and injustice embedded throughout the United States and Canada. We are outraged and sickened by these events and stand in support of our fellow BIPOC athletes and human beings. While we will never fully understand their pain, we bear witness to it.

Upon reflection and taking time to listen to the generously shared experiences of the individuals in our community, AthletesCAN recognizes that we are part of a system of inequality in sport (and beyond) that continues to oppress the Black and Indigenous communities. We as an organization represent all Canadian athletes, however we recognize that we continue to fall short in reflecting the diversity of our membership within our leadership positions. We also recognize our failure to prioritize anti-racism in our initiatives and projects. We realize we need to do better and to actively fight along side BIPOC to demand and effect change.

In this moment, we are reflecting upon the values of our organization:

Leadership – Athletes maximize their abilities to lead by example, inspire others to excel, and effect positive change where they live, work and play when they are equipped with the necessary skills and opportunities.

Courage – Athletes are empowered to influence positive change to ensure the rights of athletes are supported and respected when formal representation structures are in place and a collaborative culture is fostered within the sport system.

Transparency – Athletes excel when communication is honest and frequent. Full participation, collaboration and an open dialogue with all stakeholders leads to superior results on the field of play and beyond.

Excellence – Athletes thrive in a high-performance culture rooted in diversity, inclusion, innovation and integrity.

We recognize that these values are guiding posts to drive us to be better in this space, and thus, we pledge to:

  • Listen to the experiences of and learn from the BIPOC athletes in our community
  • Use our platform to amplify the voices of BIPOC athletes
  • Hear the needs of marginalized athletes and help if needed to ensure they are met
  • Demand adequate representation of BIPOC across the sport system
  • Promote the development of leadership skills and opportunities for BIPOC athletes
  • Research and understand the barriers to creating accessible and safe sporting environments for BIPOC individuals
  • Collaborate with Canadian sport system partners to eliminate the barriers and demand safe sporting environments for BIPOC individuals, and
  • Immediately create an Equity and Inclusion Committee to hold us accountable to our Diversity, Equity and Access Policy, and to help us meet the above objectives.

As athletes, we know that sport can be a catalyst for positive social change. We applaud and are inspired by our members who are using their athlete voice and platforms to encourage dialogue, educate, learn, and support each other. We continue to believe that athlete advocacy and activism are driving forces in the way forward to creating unity from coast to coast.

Educational Resources
Government of Canada Anti-Racism Resources
Resources & Tools Regarding Racism and Anti-Blackness & How to Be a Better Ally
Anti-Racism Resources
Black Lives Matter: Educate
Guide to Allyship

Mental Health Resources
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective
Melanin and Mental Health
Therapy for Black Girls – Podcast and search engine for therapists in your area.
Therapy for Black Men – Search engine for therapists or coaches in your area, as well as additional resources
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

Black Lives Matter Toronto
Black Lives Matter Vancouver
Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Canadian Anti-Rcism Education and Research Society
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Canadian Anti-Racism Network
Black Health Alliance
Canadian Ethnocultural Council
More Here

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt
Waking Up White by Debby Irving
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

When They See Us, a Netflix miniseries from Ava DuVernay about the Central Park Five
The Hate U Give, a film based on the YA novel offering an intimate portrait of race in America
Just Mercy, a film based on civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s work on death row in Alabama
Becoming, a Netflix documentary following Michelle Obama on her book tour
Let It Fall, a documentary looking at racial tensions in Los Angeles and the 1992 riots over LAPD officers’ brutal assault on Rodney King
13th, a Netflix documentary exposing racial inequality within the criminal justice system
I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary envisioning the book James Baldwin was never able to finish
Selma, a film that chronicles the marches of the Civil Rights Movement
Whose Streets?, a documentary about the uprising in Ferguson




For more information please contact:
Georgina Truman
Manager, Athlete Relations & Operations
[email protected]

Filed in: