GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Committee for Racial and Social Justice (CORE – Champions of Racial Equity) announced three initiatives in conjunction with its member institutions on Thursday.
• Mandatory diversity and inclusion training for student-athletes, athletic department staff and conference staff• Creation of ACC Unity Symbol as a visual representation of solidarity among the ACC’s 15 institutions• ACC Unity Statement to be read prior to every league contest
“I applaud the work of ACC CORE and the initiatives collaborated on and adopted by our schools,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “It is critically important for our country to unite as one. The ACC is committed to creating meaningful change, eradicating racism, and upholding the values of equality, diversity and non-discrimination.”
“In a time of great challenges where society seems more divided than ever before, we the student-athletes of the ACC want to take a stand against racism, discrimination and any other form of injustice,” said Leon Krapf from the NC State Men’s Soccer Team and the ACC’s representative to NCAA SAAC. “As athletes, we know that sport has the power to unite people from all backgrounds. However, we are more than just athletes. Therefore, we want to use our platforms to advocate for a more tolerant, understanding and inclusive environment on our campuses and beyond. We will overcome our current challenges if we act together and united. #UNITE!”
Student-athletes, athletic department and conference office staff will be required to attend annual diversity and inclusion training. The initiative was unanimously approved by the conference athletic directors. The focus of this year’s training will be anti-racism.
The ACC’s unity symbol – “UNITE” – will be displayed in venues and on video boards throughout the league, as well as at ACC Championship events and on social media.
CORE also has introduced a Unity Statement, which will be read at all ACC events: “We, the ACC, are committed to seeing each other as equals, supporting each other, and treating each other with respect and dignity at all times, recognizing that our differences don’t divide us, but they make us stronger.”
CORE’s work is ongoing and guided by its mission statement, which is “to promote and encourage racial equity and social justice through education, partnerships, engagement and advocacy.”
Among CORE’s actions to date: the ACC Office’s recognition of Juneteenth as a holiday; working with its institutions to increase voter education and vote, with some ACC schools serving as polling places; engaging in conversations and education throughout the conference with staff and student-athletes and initiating partnerships with local organizations and community groups; empowering students and student-athletes to engage with fans around the topic of social justice to minimize misunderstandings.
CORE’s central values and goals:• Create meaningful, lasting change by improving systems, organizational structures, policies, practices and attitudes• Have representation at all levels that is reflective of the make-up of the student-athlete population• Inclusion and empowerment of diverse individuals• Accountability for hiring practices• Integrity• Fairness