Anthony Ervin, Three Para-Swimmers on Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice

Anthony Ervin at the 2014 Summer Nationals Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin was announced Friday as one of the 44 inaugural members of the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice.

The council is a joint effort of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC), national governing bodies/high performance management organizations (NGB/HPMO) and U.S. Olympians & Paralympians Association (USOPA). The council is athlete-led and the result of USOPC consultation with athletes, formed to, “address the rules and systems in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements that create barriers to progress, is committed to working collaboratively to provide solutions and recommendations with the aim of eradicating social injustice and cultivating change through strengthened athlete voices.”

“Over the past year, it has been heartbreaking to hear how many of our athletes have been deeply affected by racism and discrimination both on and off the field of play,” AAC chair Han Xiao said in a press release. “I am encouraged that we have chosen to acknowledge and address these important issues with the leadership of an inspiring and diverse athlete group.”

The group has four main priorities, via Friday’s release, each of which constitutes an eight-member steering committee:

  • The right to protest and demonstrations, to assess current policies and alternate options.
  • Athlete voice and advocacy, to empower athlete voices on Team USA platforms.
  • Institutional awareness and cultural change, to review USOPC and NGB diversity and hiring policies.
  • Racism and acts of discrimination, to enhance reporting and dispute resolution processes.

The steering committees are overseen by an eight-member leadership team. Four “thought leaders” are included in the council, and there is a 26-member strong list of community ambassadors who will liaise the council’s work with individual bodies and athletes.

“We are grateful to this group of athletes and thought leaders who have joined the council, lending their perspective and dedication to help us confront the issues of racism and discrimination in sport and society,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said. “It is important that we continue this work of elevating athlete voices and addressing limitations within our Olympic and Paralympic community. This past week, we witnessed athletes across the country demand change through both words and actions – showing they are a powerful force in the community. We look forward to coming together as one Team USA to reflect and identify solutions toward meaningful change.”

The Council on Racial and Social Justice includes 23 Team USA athletes, forming the crux of the effort. The steering committee on protests and demonstrations includes thrower Gwen Berry and fencer Race Imbolden, both put on probation for national anthem protests during the 2019 Pan Am games, and John Carlos, of 1968 Olympic protest fame, as a USOPA alumnus.

Ervin is on the steering committee for athlete voice and advocacy along with para-swimmers Jamal Hill and Casandra Shaffer. Para-swimmer Anna Johannes is on the institutional awareness and cultural change steering committee along with water polo coach John Abdou.

Sarah Bofinger (para-swimming), Kelly Fox (diving), Mariejo Truex (swimming) and Nancy Atufunwa (water polo) are the aquatic community ambassadors.

The full list of Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice members:

Leadership Team

Greta Neimanas, athlete, Para-cycling
Jason Pryor, athlete, fencing
Moushaumi Robinson, athlete, track and field
Iris Zimmermann, USOPA, fencing
Max Siegel, NGB/HPMO, track and field
Judith B. Clarke, Vice President of Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Stony Brook University/track and field
Scott Brooks, Associate Professor & Director (Interim), T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics and Director of Research for the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University
Nicole Deal, USOPC, athlete safety and security

Steering Committee: Protests and Demonstrations

Gwen Berry, athlete, track and field
Race Imboden, athlete, fencing
Grace Latz, athlete, rowing
Colleen Quigley, athlete, track and field
Noah White, athlete, track and field
Kelsey Erickson, NGB/HPMO, cycling
John Carlos, USOPA, alumni
Guiselle Torres, USOPC, associate general counsel

Steering Committee: Athlete Voice and Advocacy

Anthony Ervin, athlete, swimming
Alyssa Fencil, athlete, Para taekwondo
Jamal Hill, athlete, Para swimming
Casandra Shaffer, athlete, swimming
Katie Uhlaender, athlete, skeleton
Suzy Sanchez, NGB/HPMO, weightlifting
Carol Lewis, USOPA, alumni
Amanda McGrory, Paralympian, USOPC archivist

Steering Committee: Institutional Awareness and Cultural Change

Tyler Carter, athlete, Para alpine skiing
Rachael Flatt, athlete, figure skating
Dawn Harper-Nelson, athlete, track and field
Anna Johannes, athlete, Para swimming
Alexander Young, athlete, track and field
John Abdou, NGB/HPMO, water polo
Candace Cable, USOPA, alumni
Adam Wood, USOPC, collegiate partnerships

Steering Committee: Racism and Acts of Discrimination

Tianna Bartoletta, athlete, track and field
Ben Bratton, athlete, track and field
Nzingha Prescod, athlete, fencing
Mystique Ro, athlete, skeleton
Stephanie Zundel, athlete, Para-cycling
Whitney Frye, NGB/HPMO, basketball
Jan Palchikoff, USOPA, alumni
Whitney Carter, USOPC, sport performance

Thought Leaders

Tiffini Grimes, Deputy Athletics Director, Chief Diversity Officer, University of Alabama
Kenneth Shropshire, Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport and CEO of Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University
Amy Wilson, Managing Director of Inclusion, NCAA
Yannick Kluch, Assistant Professor and Lead Faculty Consultant on Sport and Social Impact, Rowan University

Council on Racial and Social Justice Community Ambassadors

Sarah Bofinger, athlete, Para swimming
Stephanie Bruce, athlete, track and field
Kyra Condie, athlete, sport climbing
Joe Delagrave, athlete, wheelchair rugby
Cheta Emba, athlete, rugby
Kate Grace, athlete, track and field
Farrah Hall, athlete, sailing
Sam Mattis, athlete, track and field
Kristen Rose Morse, athlete, track and field
Rachel Schneider, athlete, track and field
Alex Shibutani, athlete, figure skating
Maia Shibutani, athlete, figure skating
Ariel Simmons, athlete, fencing
Isis Washington, athlete, fencing
Brandon Dyett, NGB/HPMO, fencing
Kelley Humphries, NGB/HPMO, Para powerlifting
Kelly Fox, NGB/HPMO, diving
Mariejo Truex, NGB/HPMO, swimming
Megan Ritch, NGB/HPMO, triathlon
Melissa Zhang, NGB/HPMO, team handball
Nancy Atufunwa, NGB/HPMO, water polo
Sara Studebaker-Hill, NGB/HPMO, biathlon
Erin Cafaro, USOPA, alumni
Sharon Ann Jewell, USOPA, alumni
Allison Wagner, USOPA, alumni
Terris Tiller, USOPC, athlete services