At the end of July, Beyond Sport hosted community relations professionals, non-profits, and executives from around the world in Brooklyn, NY for Beyond Sport United. Over the course of two days, attendees participated in community initiatives, shared conversations about challenges in their respective communities and heard from thought leaders on topics pertinent to the industry.
There was a wide array of individuals all working to make our world a better place, whether they were athletes, team executives or league professionals. In today’s world, the media and public policies play a large role in social impact. Now more than ever, it is essential that the media reports on facts, as so many of the topics in society impact sports.
For example, one of the conference’s most impactful speakers was Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir. She was a basketball player her entire life. Living in a practicing Muslim household, Bilquis honored her religious beliefs as she grew older. She wore a hijab and covered all of her skin except for her hands when she was on the court. After a standout career at the University of Memphis, her goal was to continue playing professionally in Europe. However, it quickly ended due to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rule prohibiting head gear larger than five inches. Bilqis chose faith over basketball and became an advocate working alongside other Muslim players. She started an online campaign called “Muslim Girls Hoop Too” in order to raise awareness for women similar to her. She’s become the face of Muslim women in athletics; while she has the desire to play professional basketball, she knows her voice is more impactful on the speaking tour.