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Pronghorns athletes take part in conversations about racism, diversity in sport

Pronghorns athletes at the University of Lethbridge are taking part in a two-part seminar beginning Wednesday night, as the BIPOC Speaker Series looks to shine a light on the roles that student athletes, coaches and administrators have in creating a more inclusive community.
Pronghorns athletes at the University of Lethbridge are taking part in a two-part seminar beginning Wednesday night, as the BIPOC Speaker Series looks to shine a light on the roles that student athletes, coaches and administrators have in creating a more inclusive community. Danica Ferris / Global News

Pronghorns athletes at the University of Lethbridge are taking part in a two-part seminar beginning Wednesday night, as the BIPOC Speaker Series looks to shine a light on the roles that student athletes, coaches and administrators have in creating a more inclusive community.

The two-night online seminar (Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 ) features a four-person panel guiding the conversation.

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Julian SpearChief-Morris, Victor Iyilade Jr., Livian Nandwa and Charlton Weasel Head comprise the panel, all with their own connections to the U of L.

SpearChief-Morris is a Blood Tribe member who was born and raised in Lethbridge and played three seasons with the Pronghorns men’s basketball team. Following his time at the U of L, SpearChief-Morris was accepted at Harvard Law School, and since graduating in 2018 has been working as a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

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Livian Nandwa is a current University of Lethbridge student athlete.

Charlton Weasel Head is in his 18th year as an educator at Kainai High School on the Blood Tribe Reserve, currently serving as an associate principal, athletic director and head coach of the Kainai Lady Warriors basketball team. Weasel Head played basketball at Lethbridge College in the late 90s, and obtained his master’s degree in education — with a focus in First Nation, Metis and Inuit — from the U of L in 2014.

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Iyilade Jr. is from Calgary but has a Nigerian background. He’s a U of L alumnus and served as equity co-ordinator in the community before being appointed chair of the Lethbridge Diversity and Inclusion Alliance.

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Iyilade Jr. said he hopes the Pronghorns athletes will take their role seriously, and realize what an impact they can have in addressing inclusion and diversity in sport with others.

“Regardless of what level you’re playing at, you have such a huge platform, you have so many people that you can reach,” he said. “Sports is such a big part of our everyday life.

“It’s really imperative that athletes understand their platform, and also building their own knowledge base. It’s like putting in reps at the gym or on the court when no one is looking. You know, building your knowledge base so that when it’s game time and time to tackle these issues, you have confidence in what you’re saying.”

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The two nights will be split into two topics:

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  1. Oct. 21: The role of student athletes in affecting change;
  2. Oct. 28: The role of administration and policies in fighting systemic racism.

The BIPOC Speaker Series is completely virtual, with participants joining over Zoom.