McMaster University creates 21 financial awards for Black student-athletes

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Published March 1, 2022 at 4:46 pm

McMaster University creates 21 financial awards for Black student athletes
The Athletics and Recreation department at McMaster University announced the creation of 21 financial awards for Black student-athletes. (McMaster Athletics photo)

The Athletics and Recreation department at McMaster University announced the creation of 21 financial awards for Black student-athletes on Tuesday (Mar. 1). It is also organizing a symposium focused on anti-racism in university sports.

McMaster Athletics says the initiative is part of its ongoing work to cultivate a more inclusive and anti-racist environment, as outlined by the university’s Anti-Racism Advisory Group.

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Additional targeted mental health support will also be part of the initiative.

“The Black Excellence financial awards are a huge step towards ensuring support and recognition is provided for Black student-athletes at McMaster,” says committee member and 2017 grad, Colleen Irowa. “As a Black student-athlete alumna who faced race-specific barriers, this program brings on hopefulness for the future of McMaster Athletics.”

“I hope this program is transformative and continues to set the standard for the anti-racism and equity-based work that needs to occur in all universities across Canada,” added Irowa.

The Black Excellence Athletic Financial Awards will be distributed on an annual basis. McMaster says the application process was designed in consultation with Black student-athletes and coaches. Applicants are invited to provide short submissions, highlighting their leadership skills and excellence through service to school, family, and the wider community. Fifteen Black athletics alumni are on the committee that will assess the submissions.

The anti-racism symposium will take place on May 2, 2022. Anti-Racism: Future Directions in Higher Education Athletics and Recreation will bring together student-athletes, staff and sport administrators from across Ontario to focus on sharing anti-racism initiatives and best practices focused on recruitment, education, support, and accountability.

“We’re extremely excited to be hosting the Anti-Racism: Future Directions in Higher Education Athletics and Recreation symposium here at McMaster,” said Shawn Burt, director of Athletics and Recreation.

“The incredible work that has been undertaken — both as a university and as a department — has been significant, will have long term positive impact, and will ensure we are doing everything we can to enact real change in sport.

You can read the advisory group’s new update here.

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