Black lives matter. Unequivocally. Inarguably.
To all Black lives: We stand with you. We condemn the murderers of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so many others, and the white supremacist structures that enabled and emboldened them. It is not enough, however, to condemn these murders as a singular moment in time; our league strives to be an anti-racist organization and we have more work to do to make hockey – and our country – accessible and welcoming for all folx, most acutely our Black and POC friends within the organization and beyond.
To the MGHA Family: We stand together. We cannot stay silent or turn away and continue to claim we are an inclusive community serving groups traditionally marginalized in hockey.
“…We are especially committed to providing opportunities for those who have historically felt uncomfortable in traditional sports settings to learn and teach ice hockey in a safe, supportive, and fun environment. We aspire to the highest standards of sportsmanship and promote integration of the wider Madison community into the gay community.”
This is the mission. This is what we all signed up for, to stand and support each other and reach out, support, include, and ensure the safety of those who have historically felt uncomfortable in traditional sports settings. Right now that means focusing on the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community shouting for their humanity and right to not be murdered by the unjust structures in which we are all complicit. It means making systemic updates in our league processes to intentionally include more Black owned business and reach out to more QTPOC communities. It means educating ourselves and each other, and taking action against racism in our community.
As an all-white board, we feel it important to acknowledge that our organization is not as diverse or inclusive as it could be at present, and we want to ensure our intention of making an organization that is inclusive for all queer and trans folx matches our impact in making hockey an inclusive and accessible space for everyone including BIPOC folx. We have more work to do.
We will commit to being more intentional with our dollars and time prioritizing Black owned and QTPOC businesses and community organizations for our events and fundraisers. In addition, we will continue to educate ourselves and our community on injustice and inequity, and how each creates barriers to entry and participation in our league, and re-commit to doing the work of making our community more inclusive and welcoming for people of color.
Recruitment will continue to prioritize POC applicants and we will work with QTPOC community organizations to improve our recruitment strategies. Financial aid resources will continue to be allocated specifically to ensure that finances are not a barrier for participating in the sport in acknowledgement that hockey has historically excluded POC from playing.
Finally, in the first week of Pride, it is important to acknowledge the origins of Pride. We must not forget that Pride was not a parade – it was a riot that fought the perpetual violence against BIPOC, specifically trans women of color. We need to center the needs and contributions of our QTPOC players, and our white folx within the league need to spend time listening and learning. Human rights are not negotiable. If we are to combat the systemic nature of racism and the racist structures in our society, it will take each and everyone one of us to do our part to dismantle those systems in the search for justice.
It takes all of us listening, standing up, and taking action.
The 2020-2021 MGHA Board