Strategy

Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice Releases Latest Recommendations

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Courtesy: USOPC

Colorado Springs, COLORADO – The Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice released its third set of recommendations aimed at increasing institutional awareness about racial and social justice; promoting cultural change; and creating more opportunities for athletes to advocate for and work toward implementing impactful change across the movements.

This third recommendation, in a set of four, aims to remove systemic barriers to racial and social justice, empower athletes in driving societal change, and anchor a commitment to access, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the organizational policies, practices and procedures within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements. The third recommendation was created and developed with the assistance of external expert Dr. Amy Wilson, the managing director of the office of inclusion at the NCAA.

“This recommendation should serve as a playbook for our entire community,” said Moushaumi Robinson, 2004 Olympic gold medalist in track and field, and chair of the Council. “To increase awareness, presence and voice of current and former Team USA athletes, access, diversity, equity and inclusion (ADEI) must guide institutional practices and procedures. This represents transformational change in action.”

The Council was created more than a year ago to create pathways for dialogue and to advocate for action and work that will implement impactful and meaning full change. Its first two recommendations around the right to protests and demonstrations and athlete advocacy were put into action ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and helped lead and inspire social change to advance equality, fairness and respect – values that serve as the cornerstone for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements.

The Institutional Awareness and Cultural Change Steering Committee, one of four committees that constitutes the Council, worked in collaboration with representatives from the athlete community, AAC, USOPA, NGB, USOPC, and industry and academic thought leaders. A final recommendation is expected later this year that will address racism and acts of discrimination and aim to enhance the reporting and dispute here resolution processes.

The full detail of the Council’s third recommendation can be found at the link here.

For reference:  Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice Recommendation on Institutional Awareness and Culture Change

  1. Structural Support for ADEI Efforts: Equip the office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with a full staff and the explicit executive-level support to develop and enforce policies and practices for all USOPC employees.
    1. Strategic Planning: Institutionalize strategic planning at the NGB and USOPC level by regularly creating and updating short- (e.g., one year) and long-term (e.g., four years/every quad) access, diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plans. In addition to an overarching strategic plan, each department within the organization should regularly (e.g., annually) submit action items the department will take to meet benchmarks.
    2. Audits: Conduct regular audits of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion focused on current practices, procedures, and policies within the organization at all levels. (One audit every four years/quad should be conducted by an external entity).
      1. Extensive audits of all existing policies should: (a) identify policies that inhibit access, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, (b) outline policies needed to support access, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and (c) eliminate any language that is non-inclusive, reinforces racial and social injustice (e.g., language that is not gender inclusive), or unnecessarily distinguishes between the Olympic and Paralympic community (e.g., using “USOC” rather than “USOPC”).
      2. The audits should also look at external engagements – such as with sponsors or donors – as well as consider matters of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion when selecting host sites for events and programming.
    3. Athlete Input: Survey athletes and provide them with opportunities to give input on new and existing policies that impact their experience.
    4. Metrics: Establish metrics to drive access, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Structures must be in place to collect and utilize institutional data and metrics to measure progress. Action items for this recommendation recognize that racial and social justice strategy needs to be data-driven and shall include:
      1. Revise the existing access, diversity, equity, and inclusion score cards to include data on (1) retention of historically underrepresented, marginalized, oppressed, or minoritized groups specifically, (2) demographic make-up of executive leadership and board of directors, (3) sense of belonging across identity categories, with a particular focus on historically underrepresented, marginalized, oppressed, or minoritized groups, (4) completion of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion training, and (5) other inclusive practices taken by the organization (i.e., USOPC and NGBs).
      2. Conduct exit interviews that include specific questions related to access, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Use the data to glean crucial insights into barriers that counteract institutional awareness and cultural change.
      3. For the USOPC specifically, consider increasing the hiring of leadership and staff from historically underrepresented, marginalized, oppressed, or minoritized groups by 15% and 20%, respectively, by 2025.
    5. Culture of Accountability: Provide access to training focused on access, diversity, equity, and inclusion (including but not limited to training materials on bias and microaggressions) for all USOPC and NGB staff. Such training should be mandatory for organizational leadership and strongly encouraged for all other members of the organization. In addition, key stakeholders in the Olympic and Paralympic community, including the media, should be educated on matters of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
      1. Trainings/resources should be made available (e.g., an inclusive language guide) for NGBs, especially as part of the onboarding processes for new members of the organization (including new members of the Athletes’ Advisory Council) or as part of the media summit (for training specific to media professionals engaging with the Olympic and Paralympic community).
      2. Establish a culture of accountability handling issues of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion (e.g., via a restorative justice philosophy), which holds members of the organization accountable for use of language and practices that exclude and harm (e.g., hate speech).

 

  1. Additional Support for NGB ADEI Strategic Planning: The USOPC shall provide more consistent guidance on the creation of performance plans, which can include providing a universal plan template that features specific sections speaking to access, diversity, equity, and inclusion specifically (e.g., initiatives to diversify the grassroots level and sport pipeline, reflections on barriers to access, diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizational structure, development goals).
    1. ADEI Benchmarks: NGBs should identify their own access, diversity, equity, and inclusion benchmarks with a focus on hiring and retention at all levels.  These benchmarks should be based on (a) the demographics of the athlete populations within the sport and (b) the demographics of the U.S. population.
    2. NGB Demographics Make-Up: The strategic plan(s) should be part of the high-performance plan and must clearly identify which populations are underrepresented, marginalized, oppressed, or minoritized within the context of the sport.
    3. Recurring & Athlete-Centered Strategic Planning: The strategic plan(s) should be submitted each quad and include benchmarks with time frame, resources, and name of the lead person. Further, the strategic plan must include input from athletes (e.g., receiving approval from the AAC representative).
    4. ADEI as KPI: Performance reviews should include progress toward access, diversity, equity, and inclusion benchmarks/goals as a key performance indicator (KPI) at all levels (e.g., staff, coaches, organizational leadership).
    5. Funding & Certification Decisions: To increase accountability for racial and social justice action, tie funding and/or certification decisions to access, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives (and outcomes of such initiatives)….

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