U SPORTS Communications
U SPORTS Conversations, a live event celebrating Black History Month featuring several prominent Black personalities with ties to university sports in Canada is set to take place on Tuesday, Feb. 22nd.
This is the second annual U SPORTS Conversations event and will be hosted by NBA TV Canada / Toronto Raptors personality and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Producer Savanna Hamilton for the second consecutive year.
Hamilton, a former member of the Ryerson Rams women's basketball team from 2014-18, will host a series of Black panelists from the U SPORTS ecosystem from numerous roles and member schools.
"Black History Month is a time where we not only recognize our past but celebrate the voices of today and tomorrow," said Hamilton. "I'm excited to be hosting a conversation with such talented student-athletes & coaches across the U Sports community as we continue to change the game."
The live conversation represents an opportunity for U SPORTS to hear from those in our programs that has not been available in the past – by celebrating the success stories of the Black community, using our national platform to examine the issues and barriers the BIPOC community faces and highlight the advocacy work being accomplished by U SPORTS members.
"We are proud to showcase today's BIPOC leaders across all levels of university sport in celebration of Black History Month," said Dick White, Interim CEO at U SPORTS. "This is an important opportunity to listen to their experiences, educate our network and support our Black teammates and colleagues as they empower the next generation."
Despite the progress made in terms of equity and diversity within the world of sports, the job isn't done yet.
"We feel like we've come so far in this world and our ancestors and people who have paved the way for us have made it a lot easier, but we're still not as far removed as people think. It feels extremely disappointing when things happen just because of the texture of your hair, the colour of your skin, the way you talk, or the way you walk."
Tyrell Laing - UNBC Timberwolves Basketball
There's a need to shift the narrative with regards to telling the stories of Black athletes and the BIPOC community within sports and society in general.
"The black stories that we're telling are just stories, that happen to be about black people. There's humanity in seeing yourself in art and in entertainment because what it tells you is that you matter," said Donnovan Bennett of Sportsnet. "There are so many different parts of our culture where unconsciously we're being told we don't matter as Black and BIPOC people. Through our art, it's important that we tell those stories over and over again until we get to the point where they are just telling stories about people."
U SPORTS Conversations looks to push the needle of progress by having these unadulterated discussions between leaders in the Black and BIPOC sports community.