Across the United States of America, including on college campuses throughout the land, we live in community, where a collective goal of sharing our common humanity steeped in a just society must be on positive display every day. For over 60 years, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) has been committed to “striving together” to serve our sport within the world of higher education and return the leaders of tomorrow.
To that end, over the last several weeks the ITA honored the best in our sport in presenting our regional and national awards – including those named after Arthur Ashe and one endowed by Billie Jean King. They are two icons of American sport and social justice, championship human beings on and off the tennis court. Amidst these challenging times, the ITA has also launched Tennis for America, a national service initiative to use our sport to fight poverty and partner with organizations across that country that are making tremendous impacts in their communities.
Our Association is saddened by the recent events in our country, those that tear at the very fabric of American democracy. College tennis and the ITA hold at their core values of integrity, inclusion, and equality. We stand with others in our sport and across all sports and all parts of our society in opposition to racism and injustice of any kind. We rise in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the African-American community and with all members of the diverse tapestry of our country who seek understanding and justice and work to come together to “build a more perfect union.”
The question which we must all ask moving forward – individually, institutionally, and collectively – is, “What actions will we take to reveal and display our commitment to the voices that we raise?”
May we be guided by the wisdom, insights, and courage of great athletes, artists, and poets. Maya Angelou, a winner of the National Medal of the Arts and the National Medal of Freedom, not only reminds us of our broken history but also inspires us towards a bright tomorrow in her stirring poem, Still I Rise. May we all move onward together.