Diversity Committee Formed to Take on Issues 'Bigger Than Sports'
Recognizing words aren't enough in the fight against systemic racism, Soccer Holdings, LLC - parent company of Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC - has formed a Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunity Committee.
Representatives from each front office department and the LouCity locker room are meeting weekly, recommending how to dedicate time and resources toward making a lasting impact in the fight for racial justice.
"Using the platform afforded us by the world's game, we are committed to providing increased opportunity for those that need it," said Brad Estes, Soccer Holdings' president. "Whether through cultural education, soccer clinics or access to our youth academy, we will not sit on the sidelines. We are taking a leadership role in the pursuit of a better tomorrow."
The Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunity Committee has honed its focus to three main areas: education both within the organization and community; promoting fair business practices that uplift minorities and their businesses; and helping youth by breaking down racial divides through soccer.
"I'm proud to be part of a club that is committed to the fight for racial equality and social justice," said LouCity midfielder George Davis IV. "Understanding that the problems in our society are deeply rooted, our mission is to implement sustainable and meaningful actions within the organization and throughout the community. The issues we face today are bigger than sports. It is our responsibility to be more than a football club."
Educational initiatives include a yearlong speaker series to be announced soon. A Racial Justice Library is coming together with materials available for checkout to Soccer Holdings' employees, who will also receive funding to attend diversity-based courses.
Business-wise, Soccer Holdings is committed to reviewing hiring practices in all areas of the organization. Externally, partnerships will be sought with minority-owned businesses and community groups that align common goals.
While COVID-19 may in the short term hamper youth outreach, plans are forming to revamp Soccer Holdings' clinic system as well as grant underserved neighborhoods access to professional fields and facilities.
"We have a special opportunity here to use our platform of professional sports to make an impact in Louisville," said committee member Eiman Zuberi, also Soccer Holdings' partnership fulfillment coordinator. "Our city is at the core of unrest right now and we, as an organization, should not feel content until we have done our part in paving the way for a brighter future for all of our neighbors."
The Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunity Committee consists of:
- Danny Cruz, Assistant Coach and Technical Director
- George Davis IV, LouCity Midfielder
- Pat Denbow, Director of Partner Strategy
- Oscar Jimenez, LouCity Defender
- Brenda Moran, Business Development Specialist
- Tim Nowak, Racing Louisville Academy Director
- James O'Connor, Executive Vice President of Development
- Terrence Spence, Business Development Specialist
- Eiman Zuberi, Partnership Fulfillment Coordinator
Evan Floyd, LouCity's director of community development, has served as a non-voting secretary, setting meetings and guiding discussions.
"Seeing an organization put real thought and resources behind the cause of social justice is wonderful," Floyd said. "The relationships we've been forming in the community should lead to great new programs and lasting initiatives."
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