Lobo Athletics values creating a safe space by providing resources and promoting an inclusive environment at all Lobo events. We view the diversity of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and community as an asset to our Department of Athletics and are committed to furthering the education of Lobo Nation.
“I got into this profession to support young people, to help educate and prepare them, give them an opportunity and a platform,” Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez stated. “Now, more than ever, is our time to do so. For me, diversity and inclusion is critical in our mission for our department. I value our diversity, but without inclusion it doesn’t work.”
The Social Justice Student Action Committee created Lobos United, built around five core values:
– Education & Training
Representing the student-athletes on the Social Justice Student Action Committee (SJSAC) are Avadney Gerard-Osbourne (soccer), Daevon Vigilant (football), Ada’ora Chigbo (track and field), Gwen Maly (soccer), Paris McKenzie (soccer) and Kyle Stapley (football). Gerard-Osbourne has been selected to serve as president.
“If we want to see real change, we have to act on it,” Gerard-Osbourne said. “Every one of us is here because we believe it would be fatal to overlook this movement. We are tired of not being heard, respected or treated as equals. The Social Justice Student Action Committee will not allow anyone to walk alone in this fight for justice. We recognize that there is strength in numbers and by strengthening the bonds within our community, we walk united on this journey.”
Among the many initiatives that the committee will focus on include:
– Education and training for coaches, staff and student-athletes specific to social justice, race and all areas of diversity and inclusion
– Expand support for student-athletes of underrepresented groups
– Student-led events
– Publicize and celebrate the history and culture of diverse communities
– Voting education and registration
“If we want to see change, we need to make change.”- Avadney Gerard-Osbourne, UNM soccer player and SJSAC president
The committee has already begun their work to enact change within the department and on campus. To start with, SJSAC created a town hall to hear the concerns of the student-athletes, developed voter education initiatives, held individual team conversations, partnered with campus to produce racism documentaries and planned and carried out the UNM Student-Athlete Demonstration chalk event where student-athletes, staff, UNM students, community members and law enforcement came together to spell out “End Racism + Inequality”.
— New Mexico Lobos (@UNMLOBOS) August 29, 2020
Other planned events include monthly “Real Talk” town hall meetings with student-athletes, all staff meetings, and inviting speakers to events for coaches, student-athletes and staff to discuss topics like systemic racism. Further, a Voices Campaign will provide a platform for Lobo student-athletes to share their experiences, their thoughts and messages on the issues that directly and indirectly impact them and their views on the current events taking place in the world.
Tasked with overseeing the vision is DaDa Willis-Gregory, who holds the title of athletics diversity and inclusion director as well as assistant director for student-athlete success at UNM. Joining her in working with the student-athletes and the SJSAC are Sean Ferrera, Eryn Samuels, Shannon Dooley, Carlos Ramirez and Lobo football alum Trajuan Briggs.
“It is a pleasure to work with a department that is committed to doing this work,” Willis-Gregory said. “The time for lip service is over and we must commit ourselves to action. At UNM, we have fully committed ourselves to diversity and inclusion.”