The Inclusion Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping minorities access sports. They do this by selling clothes that spread the message of the need for inclusion in sports. All of the proceeds The Inclusion Initiative makes is donated to their beneficiaries. The organization was founded last November by Brampton resident and recent Western University graduate, Miles Elliott.
Elliott is a black man with a love for sports. But after he witnessed last summer’s police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, Elliott saw a connection between racial injustices on and off sports fields. He recognized that the world loves black athletes and athletes of colour as fans cheer them on when they are on the playing field, but once they take off their jerseys, their skin colour can be used as a target. As conversations of racial injustice grew across the globe, Elliott knew he had to do something. After attending protests throughout the summer to help raise awareness of racial injustice, Elliott finally had the tools to make a difference.
In an interview with Elliott, he shared that,
“I feel like I’m someone that can do something at the grassroots and a big thing for me is I tell people don’t feel like you have to change the world by doing something crazy just do something that’s within your circle and help your circle be a better set of people and then hopefully that permeates to everyone else. The big thing is by doing this we’re able to help a lot of people and at the same time we’re able to help sports which is something that’s close to my heart and close to the heart of Taylor, Adam, and Maddy for sure.”
The names he mentioned in the above quote is the team that runs The Inclusion Initiative. Taylor Lau, Adam Cooke, and Maddy Walker help Elliott spread the word by keeping the conversation alive. As a team, they decided that they would choose beneficiaries depending on the season. Because they started in the winter, they wanted their first beneficiary to be dedicated to uplifting minorities in hockey. And so, they chose the Black Girls Hockey Club.
Black Girl Hockey Club is their first beneficiary
Black Girl Hockey Club was founded in 2018 as a way to include and welcome black girls and women into the sport.
Hockey has been wildly known as a white dominating sport and so, in recent years, there have been cases of racial slurs and offenses directed at non-white players.
The Inclusion Initiative and The Black Girls Hockey Club are not only helping more girls access the sport, but they are also paving a way for overdue data.
Growing need for race-based data
Gabriel Estrada is a women’s soccer coach and master’s student at the University of Toronto. Her studies focus on racialized women’s experience in sports. Without organizations like Black Girls Hockey Club, Estrada says it would be very difficult to collect data on how many racialized girls and women are in sports. By the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate than boys the same age. But the issue with data like this is it does not specify a girl’s intersectionality.
Though they do not work on data aspects of minorities in sports, Elliott hopes that through their work and through the work of their beneficiaries, data can become more inclusive and in turn, will create concrete evidence of everyone’s individual struggle to access sports.