USC Athletics creates Black Lives Matter action team

In an open letter to the USC Trojans athletics family, Athletic Director Mike Bohn discusses the need to create a Black Lives Matter Action Team.

Dear Trojan Family,

We have all been so deeply affected the past several weeks by the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and so many others, combined with the demonstrations and unrest throughout our country.

On my first day at USC, I stated my intent to listen, learn, and then lead. I’ve learned more in the past few weeks than I ever thought I would. From team and individual Zoom sessions, to Athletic Department Town Hall meetings, and Student-Athlete Voice Surveys, our commitment to that mission in the wake of these senseless tragedies has never been stronger. I’ve heard anger, sadness, and desperation from which has emerged an unrelenting resolve to effect change.

All of these combined conversations – listening, learning, educating, empathizing, understanding – will inform and inspire us as we: (1) address the social injustices that impact so many of our student-athletes, (2) embrace the meaning of Black Lives Matter to USC Athletics and our overall University community, and (3) stand in solidarity with Black student-athletes, coaches, and staff in our program and beyond.

As Dr. Folt stated, this moment is our call to action. Our shared mission is to confront – head on, together, and with urgency and purpose – the social injustices that are tearing our communities apart. Therefore, today I am establishing a USC Athletics Black Lives Matter Action Team. The charge of this group will be to lead our program through a process of continued listening, learning, and educating with the ultimate goal of developing a series of meaningful and substantive actions and reforms for implementation. In alignment with University initiatives, the USCABLM Action Team will work collaboratively with student-athletes, from our Trojan Athletic Senate to the United Black Student-Athletes Association, to ensure that all voices are equally represented and the actions we take reflect our collective spirit and desire for change. Indeed, this is a time for actions, not words. Our intention is not to take the first action, but rather to take the actions that will deliver sustained, long-term impact and progress.

This morning I received an email containing a statement from the UBSAA outlining a list of initiatives that are important to our Black student-athletes. I enthusiastically encourage our students to use their platforms to effect change, and we are excited to work together – student-athletes, coaches, and staff – to make real and meaningful impact. We all share the same commitment to building an inclusive athletics program that provides our student-athletes with a safe and supportive environment.

I have organized an initial steering committee to identify and assemble the USCABLM Action Team. We have developed a web page that will serve as the online hub for our actions in support of Black student-athletes, coaches, staff, and alumni:

There is no family stronger than the Trojan Family, and I believe that, together, we will rise to the occasion this moment demands from us. We will stand for justice and embrace a culture of respect for all.



Mike Bohn signature

Source: USC Athletics

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