Our good friends at Cal Rivals approached us about combining forces to put together a statement in response to events in this country, and to help encourage support for important initiatives led by and supporting the Cal and East Bay community:
To the members of our beloved Cal community:
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others from our country’s recent and distant past have outraged us.
Sadly, these recent acts of violence committed onto unarmed black citizens are only the latest in America’s long history of state-sanctioned brutality. These acts are also just one of many discriminatory obstacles that people of color face in this country. This must change. Black lives matter.
Many of us have shown support for this cause as individuals already; yet, we find this joint statement necessary for another reason - simply speaking out is not enough. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do more. In recent days, we have been in deep reflection about the immense privilege we have collectively in writing about Cal athletics, and how that is possible largely due to the labor of black student-athletes.
It is too easy to pretend that sports is an apolitical space, and that the ongoing injustices reach only as far as the sidelines. We refuse to encourage this notion any longer.
After such reflection, we have resolved:
We aim to build a greater commitment in covering issues and stories pertaining particularly to the black Cal community, whose contributions to our athletic success are immeasurable. We hope that will help raise the profile and voices of black Cal writers, emergent and existing, to create a more inclusive space for our Golden Bears.
To work intentionally toward a more just and equitable version of the local community we love so dearly. To that note, we are splitting an equal donation to these community-centered organizations, and strongly encourage you to do the same:
Marshawn Lynch’s Fam1st Foundation, which focuses on the underserved youth of Oakland by providing sports and other support services.
Marcel Dancy in partnership with Burckhalter Elementary and the Intuitive Foundation, which will provide food to families in need and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
People’s Breakfast Oakland, a grassroots organization which provides a variety of resources for the local community, including feeding the homeless and raising bail for black protesters.
Bay Area Black Owned Business Relief Fund, which is working to help businesses rebuild from any protest-related damages.
Some of you might have some questions about that first resolution. How can we make good on that pledge, and what might that look like? The very nature of a free-to-read fan site that generates no revenue means that we don’t have funds to pay contributors, either as staff or as freelancers.
That said, we do have a solid reach within the Cal fan community, and we will continue keep the door open for Cal athletes past and present who would like to use this site to speak to the Cal community.
We have also tried to use our voice to amplify the activism of black Cal athletes, past and present, but we will make a more conscious effort to seek out opportunities to support and spread their message.
In the past we have been (reasonably) criticized for a lack of diversity on staff. More commonly that critique is based on a lack of women writers rather than a lack of ethnic/racial diversity, but we are generally of the opinion that we can do better in both regards. Because this is a volunteer outfit, we are almost constantly searching, actively or passively, for new writers.
We have not previously explicitly stated in our searches that we would particularly encourage minority candidates of all kinds, but had been considering behind the scenes what we can do to improve the diversity of voices you read on this website. At some point during this unusually long off-season we will search for more volunteers to contribute here at W4C, and that call will include an explicit interest in diverse applicants. But there’s no need to wait - our inbox is always open.
Meanwhile, we hope you will consider donating to any of the worthy causes we listed above if you’re able. We’re still organizing our collective donation from the various writers from both sites, but pay attention on twitter where we’ll announce the final total.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Here’s to doing what we can, large and small, for a better tomorrow.