The Charlotte 49er athletic department announced The United in GOLD (Growing Our Leaders in Diversity) Initiative on Oct. 2nd. The Initiative is dedicated to ensuring its students, staff and coaches understand social issues, systemic racism and how to be a positive part of change.
"We are so inspired by our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have united to affect meaningful change in our department, on our campus and in our community,” said Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill. “I'm especially proud of the strength, grace and leadership shown by our student-athletes as we work with them to make a positive impact on society and cultivate personal growth in us all."
The goal of this new committee is to improve the circumstances that the black community faces as well as others that have been affected by racism and discrimination. This is great for the university as it will fix many issues that are current in the university and the greater black community in general.
The committee consists of both players and coaches, as well as Charlotte athletic staff. Some of those who are involved include Charlotte's women's head coach, Cara Consuegra, football coach Will Healy, cross country runner Paul Arredondo, basketball coach Ron Sanchez and Ellinor Sudow, who is playing for the 49ers' women's golf team. There are 22 members overall.
Charlotte is not afraid to talk about these issues and this will be present in brand new town hall meetings. These meetings will be with members of local law enforcement on how to reach an understanding. The meetings will also consist of talking about voting education and many open dialogues. This will allow for athletes to be able to be their own advocate on issues that affect them personally.
The athletic department also produced a video that featured student-athletes from serval different sports speaking on what the new program will do for them and 49er athletes.
“United in GOLD allows me the opportunity to improve my leadership skills while being a part of change for my fellow brothers and sisters,” said women’s basketball student-athlete Dazia Lawerence.
These conversations will immediately lead to change on not just the campus level but the community level as well. The athletic department understands personal investment and open conversation will lead to change.
“The way our student-athletes, coaches and staff have opened up and have been vulnerable with conversations about race and what we can do together and individually to invoke change is truly heartfelt," said Executive Associate Athletic Director Ragean Hill. Hill is the co-chair of the United of GOLD committee.
The United in GOLD vision statement asserts the following: We know that we must support our words with sustained action and commitment. We will stand and fight for a better and more inclusive Charlotte for all. We will engage the nine pillars of awareness which can lead to change: engage, vote, serve, learn, speak, listen, act, share, and support.
“We are United in GOLD – for change…for culture…for Charlotte,” the United in GOLD press release stated.