The Atlanta Hawks host the MOSAIC symposium to discuss social activism and sports.
The Atlanta Hawks believe that athletes are human beings. Sports don’t need to be free of politics and social issues simply because of the industry. Nzinga Shaw, Hawks’ Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, believes when one ignores what’s going on in the world, it’s possible to come across as inauthentic. To help combat this, she created the Model of Shaping Atlanta through Inclusive Conversations (MOSAIC) symposium. The event brought 300 Atlanta residents to network and listen to the role that sports leaders play in diversity in their local communities.
According to Shaw and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the goal for this year was “how to extend the conversation beyond race and gender.” The segment before lunch tackled athletes and how they use their platforms to shed light on important social issues. The one after lunch explored how corporate executives and their organizations tackle diversity in an authentic manner.
The Undefeated’s Marc Spears moderated the first panel. Keri Potts, a panelist, discussed her fight to have the man who sexually assaulted her in Italy prosecuted. She credits sports with providing her the power to escape her attacker and be an advocate for other victims. Former NBA player, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, spoke of how he was blackballed from the NBA for not standing for the national anthem after he had converted to Islam. According to the AJC, “he spoke on the differences between the society in which he protested and the social-media driven world in which Colin Kaepernick recently protested. Abdul-Rauf said he believes social media amplifies the voices of everyday people, giving supporters and critics a way to share their thoughts with a mass audience.”
This type of conference helps spur the conversation that is needed in society. It gives a voice to leaders in our communities and hopefully provides an outlet for other community members to think about these issues. Hopefully, social activism trickles down to individuals because there is great ability to effect change if everyone plays a small part.
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