South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley voiced her support today for the Advancement of Blacks in Sports (ABIS), a newly formed non-profit organization with a mission to connect and inspire people to boldly advocate for racial, social and economic justice for Blacks in sports. ABIS words to foster a culture of equity and inclusion in all aspects of sports.
"The game of basketball has given me the world, and I respect it enough to know that I need to give back, if not to the world, then to those who look like I do," Staley said. "To me, that means recognizing that while we as Black Americans have earned the right through our sweat, skill and fight to be called the best in the world athletically, we have been largely denied the opportunities to show that we are capable of the very same level of excellence off the court or field as well. With that recognition and this organization, I will not be silent about that willful disparity any longer."
Since the tragic death of George Floyd, ABIS founder and basketball grassroots coaching legend, Gary Charles, has meticulously identified and partnered with a unique collaborative team of leading African American professionals in sports, music, law and business to assist in the normalization of equal rights and fair treatment of Black people.
Charles notes, "The passing of John Thompson means another American Icon has passed away. One of the best ways to honor him is for us to continue the legacy he started. We have not been fully embraced in the board room, had more head coaching positions, and been consistently blocked out of revenues earned through contracts specific to athletics. ABIS seeks to align with student-athletes and other professionals who are willing to use their voices for the betterment of all Blacks in sports. It's time for advancement!
Keys to victory for ABIS include economic sustainability, education, grassroots and community outreach, racial equity research, and student athlete engagement. These keys to victory serve as the guiding framework for the elimination of inequitable hiring and retention practices in sports, access to economic opportunities at sporting events for black business owners, increasing awareness of the value of curriculum that teaches African American history, the promotion of civics and voter engagement, assistance with transition of student-athletes from graduation to careers, and the protection of student-athletes during and outside of competition.
ABIS officially launched on September 2, 2020. For more about ABIS see www.weareabis.org.