TL;DR: Actually, no. This is important. Read it.
In recent weeks (and years and decades and centuries if you’ve been paying attention), movements like Black Lives Matter have struggled to shine a spotlight on the systemic racism built into our societal structures. Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) have faced challenges, from the minutely frustrating to the outright dangerous, that white people simply do not encounter. And they do this every single day.
The PUL Board would like to stand in solidarity with all BIPOC, but the truth is we cannot do so effectively. We are not yet the allies we need to be.
Peterborough is not a particularly diverse city and our league reflects that limited diversity. In our membership surveys, we do not collect demographic data aside from gender identification, but we do not need that data to state unequivocally that BIPOC are underrepresented at all levels of our sport.
Indeed, while PUL prides itself on its progressive values in other important areas (we have policies on gender parity and gender inclusion, for example), we do not currently have any policy or statement of inclusivity based on issues of race, ethnicity, or class. When pressed, we might note that ‘all players are welcome’ and thus there is ‘no need’ for such a show of solidarity, but that is weak sauce. If we have learned anything from the recent weeks it is that this passive level of ‘acceptance’ simply does not go far enough.
So what, then? At the minimum, we need an open declaration of tolerance and support for all BIPOC members of our sport and community, one designed to become a standing policy for PUL. This declaration should come with an active agenda of engagement with these pressing issues.
If we need to, the Board is prepared to compose this declaration and consider steps forward. But the truth is, the limited diversity of PUL is even more limited at the Board level: all of our Board members identify as white, with little direct experience of the sort of challenges faced by BIPOC.
We are therefore inviting anyone interested to help us shape this dialogue, and the policies that go with it. Any member of PUL may contribute, but we are particularly interested in those with different perspectives and/or lived experiences (and if you know of someone outside of PUL who might help, you can let us know about that as well).
We’ve been on the right side of history before. With some real effort and consideration, we can get there once again.
Anyone interested should contact our League President George Kovacs.
The PUL Board
PS: You don’t have to wait for the PUL Board to start thinking or taking action. There are many useful resources out there for thinking about race and our role in ending it.
Try this list of scaffolded resources, for instance.
Or this very long, very detailed list of anti-racism resources.
Or the many, many organizations that are already working hard on this issue.