Anna Bauer ’23
Two weeks ago, the Tripod spoke with the founders of the Athletes of Color Coalition (ACC) to see what strides have been made towards creating a sense of community for student-athletes of color on campus.
In 2019, the Athletes of Color Coalition was brought to Trinity by Dakota Foster ’21, Charles Barsella ’21, Kinnard Hughes ’22, Hareena Johnson ’22, and Peace Kabari ’20. When these student-athletes began to see that Trinity did not have the same support or resources for their athletes of color as other NESCAC schools did, they took matters into their own hands and founded the ACC.
The Athletes of Color Coalition is an alliance intended to create a safe and diverse environment for student-athletes of color at Trinity. Essentially, the ACC wants athletes of color to be heard in the Trinity community. Everyone has a voice, but not everyone can so easily use it nor is everyone so easily heard; the ACC creates an environment with a support system, encourages that voice to be used, and provides a way for it to definitely be heard.
To get a better understanding of the importance of the ACC, Hareena Johnson ’22, a member of Trinity’s varsity volleyball team told the Tripod, “as the only Black woman on my team, ACC is really important for me because it gives me a safe space to talk amongst those who share similar experiences and challenges as me.”
Johnson wants to “ensure that student-athletes of color who come after [her] have a space where they can build a community around people that share similar interests and backgrounds.”
Foster and other members of the ACC believe that the most important focus for them right now is to have more of a presence on campus. It is a step-by-step process, but essentially the ACC intends to use the platform they have created, where student-athletes of color can voice their opinion, to then collaborate with other organizations on campus and open up the conversation, thus bridging the gap between students of color and student-athletes of color. Moreover, Makayla Boucher ’23 spoke on just how key these Community Conversations are as they unite students of color and student-athletes of color and form a safe space to “talk about common misconceptions and the overall campus climate.”
Members from the ACC tell just how valuable a resource the athletic department has been as “Drew Galbraith, Athletic Director, and Kristen Noone, Associate Athletic Director, are fully engaged in [their] meetings; listening to [their] ideas and making efforts to push [their] initiatives forward to make the athletic department a more diverse environment.” A great priority for the ACC is ensuring that the community is growing: that more student-athletes and coaches of color are being brought into the Trinity community. Highlighting the benefits of having a coach an athlete can identify with, Foster talks about his own position coach, Denver Williams, as a “tremendous resource” who has been able to develop strong relationships, not just with Foster, but with others as well.
Covid-19 has made doing almost everything infinitely more difficult, and the same goes for the ACC and making their presence on campus greater. Because of the pandemic, Foster and other members of the ACC recognize that actively engaging with the community is significantly more of a struggle, however, they have a positive mindset as they told the Tripod, “Right now, it is about being creative and making sure we stay true to our mission.”
The Athletes of Color Coalition has formed a safe space where voices can be heard. If you’d like to connect with them, check out the Bantam Sports page about the ACC, email them directly at Trinity-Athletes-Color@trincoll.edu, or follow them on Instagram @trinitycollegeacc.