June 26, 2023 — Last week, Athlete Ally, a national nonprofit organization working to end homophobia and transphobia in sports, along with adidas and the University of Washington Athletic Department, held an Athlete Activism Summit on June 22-25 in Seattle, Washington.
Over the course of four days, college athletes, coaches, and administrators from across the country convened to build community, gain knowledge, and commit to actions to help expand LGBTQI+ inclusion and allyship on their campuses. The event kicked off with a Welcome Reception. Friday and Saturday included a series of breakouts, main stage keynote and panel discussions at the Westin Seattle with exciting evening events happening outside of the hotel. On Sunday, participants walked in the Seattle Pride Parade with Seattle pro sports teams, including OL Reign, Seattle Storm, and Seattle Sounders FC.
Speakers included Patricio Manuel, the world’s first openly transgender man to compete in professional boxing; Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal; Katie Holloway-Bridge, Paralympic Gold medalist and Assistant Director of Name, Image and Likeness at Stanford University Athletics; Sami Whitcomb, professional basketball player with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm; and Alison Mariella Désir, author of Running While Black and one of Women’s Running Magazine’s “Power Women of 2022″.
“College athletes aren’t just the future of sport – they’re on the frontlines right now working to make their teams and campuses a safe space for LGBTQI+ players and fans,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “I’m thrilled to have connected with changemakers from across the country who are committed to this vital work, and for what we accomplished together in Seattle to build an even greater legacy of inclusion.”
“At adidas, we believe that sport has the power to change lives. For that to happen, sport must be an inclusive, empowering space where everyone has the chance to participate,” said Jim Murphy, Senior Director of NCAA at adidas. “Working with our exceptional partners, Athlete Ally and the University of Washington, this summit fostered important conversations between college athletes, coaches and administrators, equipping them to build a more inclusive future of sport for all.”
“Working with Athlete Ally and adidas to host the Athlete Activism Summit reflects our intention to engage in important conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Jennifer Cohen, Washington Director of Athletics. “We strive to build environments where student-athletes, coaches and staff feel supported and valued, and this summit inspired learning and growth for our community and all those who attended. I’m thankful for our DEI team, led by Sheridan Blanford, and our partners for collaborating and bringing this event to Seattle.”
See a selection of event photos here, with more coming soon!