Supporter of the Equal Justice Initiative

The series of condensed articles with follow-up questions (aka “exercises”) and the videos are provided to help educate and bring more awareness to the need to promote social justice and the teaching of values. As a young boy I saw the Civil Rights Movement of 1964. We have made progress since then but not nearly enough. The George Floyd death (May 25, 2020), and the way he died is intolerable. Unfortunately, it is not the only one of its kind in recent history that is inexcusable. We as a society, need to take action to get rid of social injustice and the stereotyping of specific groups. We need to strive for fairness and equality in society. We must learn to be accepting and respectful of all people.

Diversity in sports has been a vehicle for social justice and equality. Coaches can continue the education of young people, and each other, by having formal discussion within the team on social justice issues. Coaches teach values through sport participation and they can do the same through deliberate discussion.

I hope you find the exercises and videos useful to educate yourself and to teach others about justice, fairness, equality, and respect for individual differences. I ask coaches to take 15 minutes once a week throughout the season for team members to read-respond-discuss one of the exercises (or video episode). Teachers can do this with their students. Organizations and other groups, including within your own family, can do this as well. Here is our chance for each of us to step up and make a difference. Let’s create a better understanding and opportunity for all. Let’s persevere in our relentless pursuit for a fair and just society. Let’s have conversations and take action in the choices we make to achieve this goal.

Ben Loeb
Rock Bridge High School Tennis Coach
Columbia, MO

I love these short articles and follow up questions Ben Loeb put together! I think they’re a great way to open a conversation with a team or group in a thoughtful way. These exercises encourage thinking, listening to each other, and whether there are actions needed. I love that each reading is brief, comes from a variety of sources, and is current. These exercises provide an opportunity for intentional work within teams, that will actually impact the communities as conversations expand into the schools and families.

Deanna MaynardInstructor, Educational Studies Department - University of Wisconsin – La Crosse