NORFOLK, Va., – Below is a statement from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) on current events.
It is not enough to simply speak out against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and Ahmaud Arbery and the epidemics of police brutality and systemic racism. In order for real change to happen, such words need to be augmented by real, transformative action – and HBCUs are uniquely positioned to affect change.
MEAC institutions have a long history of activism. It goes back to Morgan State students condemning segregated Baltimore, Md., restaurants and North Carolina A&T State’s sit-ins via the Greensboro Four. Other MEAC institutions’ students and staff have also taken action over the years.
The MEAC has taken its first steps regarding positive actions to change our local, state and national communities by hosting a symposium with the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) presidents on Wednesday, June 10, on racism and systemic inequality to impress upon other NCAA members that condemning a tragedy is appropriate, but taking action to improve society requires demonstrative action.
The MEAC SAAC plan to coordinate a voter registration drive for each institution’s student-athletes, beginning this summer and leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The drive will also encourage the use of absentee and mail-in ballots, particularly as the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. A focal point of this campaign will be encouraging individuals to not just focus on voting in national elections, but also electing officials on the state and local levels who can best create a climate of equality for all Americans.
We encourage everyone to take the next steps beyond a press release and move toward meaningful change through programming that will ameliorate our society. Next year or three years from now, what will the report card be for all press releases regarding racial equality?