The Year in Review

AFS Athletics Commits to Equity and Inclusion Work

AFS Athletic Director Jeff Bond coaching Girl’s Basketball in December 2019

Life seemed surreal last spring when, one by one, everyday normal events began to get cancelled due to the global pandemic. That included sporting events, and while that was disappointing for many, it paled in comparison to the racial tensions that mounted following the tragic death of George Floyd in June 2020. Many took to the streets in peaceful protests, and all around the country folks started to ask the difficult questions and engage in raw conversations—all in an effort to truly make a difference, turn a corner, and create lasting change when it comes to combating racism, inequities, and injustices.

The Friends School League (FSL) Athletic Directors felt passionate about doing their part to effect change so they formed a structure for action, empowerment, and accountability through their shared platform. Led by Clerk Jeff Bond (AFS Director of Athletics), athletics administrators from nine FSL member institutions—in partnership with Directors of Equity and Inclusion and Heads of Schools—collaborated to recognize ways to enhance the experiences of every athlete, coach, official, and supporter that comes into contact with the FSL.

Assisted by the leadership of Mikael Yisrael, AFS Director of Equity, Justice and Engagement, the FSL Athletic Directors created five separate subcommittees, which will focus on student engagement, internship programming and community outreach, support for the advancement of coaches of color, bias incident reporting and accountability, and professional development.

The group has also partnered with Positive Coaching Alliance to schedule six coaches’ workshops over the next two years in their Sports Can Battle Racism program. Dr. Scott Brooks of the Global Sports Institute will also be partnering with on this work moving forward. In addition, they sent out a survey to student-athletes and coaches asking for feedback regarding their experiences with incidents of bias in sports.

Jeff Bond (top row, second) and Mikael Yisrael (bottom row, second) in a subcommittee meeting with Dr. Scott Brooks of the Global Sports Institute

“Sharing this survey will enable us to gather critical data that will inform our ongoing work,” said the team of FSL Athletic Directors in a public announcement. Jeff Bond, Director of Athletics for AFS added, “While athletics competitions have been put on hold, there has been ongoing, meaningful and hopefully transformative work that has been happening behind the scenes.”

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