When the lines are drawn on the field, the court, or the track, distractions tend to disappear. Teams exist for the purpose of achieving one common goal—winning. Athletes sweat together. They bleed together. They experience victory and defeat, together. Few people understand, as thoroughly as athletes, what it means to put all differences aside for the common good. In addition to the mindset of an athlete, your influence is unmatched. The general public views competitors as superheroes, who are able to accomplish feats that the everyday citizen will likely never obtain. Your vision, focus and determination to reach your goal allow no tolerance for division when you step inside the lines of your sport’s venue, and therefore, anything that divides a team, especially the color line, disappears. Today, our country needs you to team up with a worthy cause and use your superpower of influence to help dissolve the color line in America.
Lisa Williams, former competitive athlete and President of Augmented Publishing Group, feels strongly about the impact athletes can have in the campaign to get past divisive racial challenges.
“Athletes, particularly professional athletes, can use their platform to spur change within society,” stated Williams.
Our country is at a breaking point, and sadly, our citizens lack the appropriate resources to help sort out our thoughts and implement actions that will foster lasting change. Williams and her business partner, Tamika Bridgewater, are mothers who have been deeply affected by the growing racial tension in America, so they decided to do something about it.
Williams is using her book publishing and media company as a hub for a new collaborative book series called, “#REALTalkRacism: Change Matters,” a collection of short-reads meant to spark conversation and empower all people, regardless of ethnicity, and to bridge the gaps that only serve to divide us. In this way, she can provide a practical avenue through which everyone can interact and communicate, effectively.
This is where professional athletes, and organizations that support athletes can play apart. Williams’s vision is to create a resource, filled with practical information and tactics that bond teammates together and will help them understand that a life and experience different from their own matters.
Athletics has always played an important role shaping our culture, often through a political context. And that’s not just the case here in America; it’s been true around the globe. In the battle against apartheid, Nelson Mandela noted that sport, “has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Sports can create hope where once there was only despair. And, in some cases, athletics can be more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, recently made the decision to silently protest racial disparity, and specifically, police brutality.
This single action ignited a conversation in our country about the relevance of nationalistic icons and symbols to people of color in America who don’t experience the same brand of liberty and justice as our white counterparts. In response to Kaepernick’s protest, Denver Bronco, Russell Okung stated, “My challenge to athletes, and to anyone else who has a platform available to them, is to be passionate and creative in your thinking and approach. There are so many different ways to address injustice in this country. We can’t all try to solve these problems in the exact same way, and we should welcome a diversity of approaches.”
Williams is seeking the support of professional athletes to ban together and sponsor a book project or purchase copies for young athletes, under the #REALTalkRacism umbrella. She is reaching out and asking professional coaches and athletes to contribute their expertise in a books series titled, #REALTalkRacism – Athletes Matters, “How Sweat Dissolves Color Lines: Blowing the Whistle on the Racial Divide.”
Williams expressed, “We need professional coaches, sports organizations and athletes to partner with us and underwrite the cost for us to publish the sports books so this resource will be available for athletes from pop warner to college. We want your voices, not only in post-game interviews and commercials, but in books, sharing your experiences and giving everyday people hope and encouragement.”
Williams and Bridgewater hope to touch people’s lives in the same way the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series has done for so many.
One hundred percent of the retail royalties from all books created under the “#REALTalkRacism” book initiative, and a portion of the sponsorship packages, will go to a not yet determined charity. Sponsoring organizations would allow the books to be provided, free of charge to help dissolve color lines in sports.