Continuing the Challenge – The Olympics

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Continuing the Challenge – The Olympics

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We’ve just concluded week two of our 21 Day Challenge on Racial Equity and Social Justice. The conversation continues with this continuing the challenge because the work is not over!

Although the Olympic Games represent the unity of the five continents, that doesn’t mean that they are exempt from the racial injustices that pervade contemporary sports.


10 mins
In the Challenge, we’ve looked at how racism manifests in contemporary sports. Although the Olympic Games represent the unity of the five continents, that doesn’t mean that they are exempt from the racial injustices that pervade contemporary sport. At the recent Summer Olympics, discussions around the ban on swim caps designed for natural black hair exposed some of the ways non-white athletes face discrimination at the Games. Read more about the swim cap ban as well as other barriers for Black swimmers here.

45 mins
In the Challenge, we’ve explored how athletes use their public platform to advocate for racial justice. There is perhaps no platform as international as the Olympics, and there has been a long history of athletes taking a stand for social issues at the Olympics. Although in 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restricted displays of political protest at the Games, athletes still found ways to show support for racial justice, like Luciana Alvarado, the first-ever Costa Rican to qualify for the Olympics, who held up her fist in support of Black Lives Matter as part of her choreographed gymnastics routine. Read more here. You can read more about the history of Black activism in the Olympics here. Link to Luciana’s floor routine.

20 mins
Continuing our  Challenge discussion of the intersection of race and gender discrimination in the context of the recent Summer Olympics, read this article about two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya of South Africa, the world’s fastest woman in the 800 meters, who was barred from competing in the 2021 Olympics due to naturally high levels of testosterone. Read more here and here about other difficulties Black women athletes, in particular face going into the Olympic games.


What is the 21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge?

Many people are becoming newly aware of how systemic racism and violence are impacting people of color. Even if you are new to the conversation, that is OK. Our 21 Day Challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. Participants who sign up for the Challenge will receive daily tasks via email to help foster their understanding and awareness, with activities such as reading an article, listening to a podcast, or reflecting on personal experience. If you’ve already completed this challenge with us in the past please know that our challenge is designed to be taken multiple times by selecting different daily challenges in order to expand what you have previously learned. Follow this link for the resources.

Only about 9 percent of grant-making from foundations goes into communities of color? Make a gift to YWCA today and support our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.