5-Day Sports and Social Justice Challenge, powered by
YWCA Greater Cleveland

5-Day Sports and Social Justice Challenge encourages participants to take a deep dive into the history and current realities of racial inequity and social injustice, which permeate the worlds of sports and entertainment.

Learning Objectives/Action Steps:   

1. Why has sports become a medium for social justice activism? In what ways is the world of sports a microcosm of society at large? 

2. What was the most challenging thing you learned this week? 

3. Ensure that your local school does not have Native American imagery as a sports mascot and allows all genders to participate equally in sports.

Day 1: Racism in Sports History & Today

  1. Watch this video to learn about the history of Black athletes in America and the racial barriers that continue to inhibit equity in sports today.  WATCH VIDEO
  2. Read this article to understand how the enduring racism in baseball and the structural inequities in American society have resulted in a steady decline in Black people playing the sport. READ ARTICLE
  3. Watch this video about the Negro Leagues and the recent inclusion of the Negro League statistics in the records of the MLB. WATCH VIDEO

Day 2: Ending the use of Native American Imagery in Sport

  1. Watch this video about the offensiveness of using Native American imagery as sports mascots and why such mascots should no longer exist. WATCH VIDEO
  2. Read this article about a Native American lacrosse player who turned racist heckling into a moment to educate and bring awareness to Native history within his sport community. READ ARTICLE

Day 3: Athlete Activism

  1. Watch the event "Dear Black Athlete" to hear testimonials about racism in American sports and the need for athlete activism in the face of such hate and discrimination. WATCH VIDEO
  2. Watch this video to hear a conversation about athletes and activism (both past and present) and the importance of utilizing their platforms to push for social justice.WATCH VIDEO
  3. Watch this video about the recent push in women's soccer for pay equity with men's sports. WATCH VIDEO

Day 4: Gender and Sexuality in Sports

  1. Read this article about intersectionality in sports and the ways in which being both Black and female increases societal barriers to visibility and equity. READ ARTICLE
  2. Read this article about how transgender girls face unjust and illegal discrimination in sports and how exclusion from playing sports can have a detrimental physical and mental impact on girls and women.  READ ARTICLE
  3. Watch this video to learn about why "sex testing" in sports is unjust and discriminatory--particularly against women of color--and how measuring testosterone is an incomplete measure of performance capacity and emblematic of how drawing artificial lines between the sexes is biologically and morally wrong.  WATCH VIDEO

Day 5: Entertainment and Activism

  1. Read this article on how our nation’s obsession with celebrity may trivialize their intention and impact on actual social issues at hand. READ ARTICLE
  2. Throughout the years, music has been an integral part of social movements. Watch this video on the history of music in social movements and its current impact. READ ARTICLE
  3. Read this article about the tradition of protests at award-shows and the lasting power of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. READ ARTICLE
  4. In recent years, the reciting of the Star-Spangled Banner before sporting events has come under fire. Read this article on why the national anthem is played before American sporting events. READ ARTICLE

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YWCA Greater Cleveland: eliminating racism, empowering women
Greaster Cleveland Sports Commission