IWLCA Announces Formation of Racial Equity Task Force
The IWLCA Board of Directors voted to create a Racial Equity Task Force to examine ways the association can fight against racism and facilitate the entry of people of color into the sport of lacrosse, and specifically into the collegiate coaching ranks. The task force will be responsible for planning and implementing short-term changes in 2020-21 and crafting a sustainable strategy for securing the long-term goal of a diverse and inclusive association that recognizes the significant value of true equity.
The ongoing national protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder have shined a light on issues of racism and discrimination in American society, and many Black athletes and coaches in the lacrosse community have shared their experiences in the sport, both positive and negative. In creating the task force, the IWLCA leadership has made a commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that takes a united stand against racism, values everyone equally, and promotes and champions those underrepresented in the lacrosse community.
IWLCA President Liz Grote has appointed Jessy Morgan and Mary Ann Meltzer as co-chairs of the task force. Morgan was the head coach at George Mason University from 2014-2020, and currently serves as the Athletic Director at Garrison Forest School. Meltzer is a member of the IWLCA Board of Directors and is the head coach at Lawrence Technological University.
“Jessy and Mary Ann will do a phenomenal job leading the task force,” Grote said. “They are both well-respected within the IWLCA and the larger lacrosse community, have a long-standing track record of volunteer service, and are fierce advocates for creating opportunities for girls and women in sport.”
Morgan and Meltzer have assembled a task force that includes an experienced group of active and retired coaches and former student-athletes (see full list below). “Our goal was to not only gather a diverse set of voices at the table, but also to ensure that everyone involved shares a desire to remove barriers to participation and conditions that marginalize in order to achieve equity,” Morgan explained. “I think it’s very important to include people from both a minority background and a majority background in the conversation, because it can’t just be minorities doing the work. We need everyone to engage in dialogue, get educated on the issues, and then work together to spread the word and effect positive change. I’ve dedicated my entire career to advancing this sport, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this task force and make a difference.”
The task force’s main focus will be on formulating action steps to make the IWLCA a more diverse and inclusive association by:
The task force’s secondary focus will be on working with other lacrosse organizations to make the sport of lacrosse more diverse and inclusive at the grassroots level and remove barriers that deter continued participation in the game. At least one open meeting will be held to allow internal and external stakeholders to share their personal experiences and exchange ideas for making the sport more accessible and welcoming to minority participants. You can follow the task force’s progress and provide feedback to the task force on the IWLCA website.
Racial Equity Task Force Members
Jessy Morgan, Co-Chair, Athletic Director, Garrison Forest School (Emeritus IWLCA Member)
Mary Ann Meltzer, Co-Chair, Head Coach, Lawrence Technological University (NAIA)
Ricky Fried, Head Coach, Georgetown University (Division I)
Zhané Ruffin, Assistant Coach, University of the District of Columbia (Division II)
Britt Brown, former student-athlete, University of Pennsylvania ’17 (Division I)
Celine Cunningham, Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA, Bates College (Emeritus IWLCA Member)
Kayla Treanor, Assistant Coach, Boston College (Division I)
Alice Lee, Head Coach, Williams College (Division III)
Brian Smith, Associate Head Coach, Lindenwood University (Division II)
Malia Shimabukuro, Head Coach, Midland University (NAIA)
Abigail Jackson, Head Coach, Union College (Division III)