LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky will have five athletes and three staff members joining the new Southeastern Conference Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice.
The student-athletes who will be involved include Josh Paschal (Football Leadership Council), Keion Brooks Jr. (Men’s Basketball Leadership Council), Blair Green (Women’s Basketball Leadership Council), while Lauren Denham (Women's Swimming & Diving) and Kendyl Paris (Volleyball) are on the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
There are also two coaches, Tim Garrison of Gymnastics and Track and Field/Cross Country coach Lonnie Green serving with other coaches from the SEC. And, UK's executive Associate Director of Athletics and Chief Financial Officer, Melissa Gleason will serve along with other league administrators.
The Council will identify resources, outline strategies and assist with implementation of efforts that, when taken together, will promote racial equity and social justice, while also fostering diversity, helping overcome racism and pursuing non-discrimination in intercollegiate athletics.
“This is really important and I’m excited to be a part of the Student-Athlete Engagement Program,” Paschal said. “This program gives the student-athletes a voice so that Commissioner Sankey and our schools’ athletic directors know how we are thinking on topics and issues in our sports. We need to continue building these relationships so we can make decisions that help serve the student-athletes in the best way possible.”
“I’m proud to be part of the SEC’s effort in the pursuit of creating a better future,” Greene said. “In this moment where we’ve seen a powerful movement emerge across the country, we hope the conversations we have, and recommendations we make, will help move us toward everlasting change relating to equal treatment of all traditionally underrepresented groups across society including in our field of intercollegiate athletics.
“As (SEC) Commissioner Greg Sankey said, the Council will serve as a guide to the Conference’s development of an action agenda built on the foundation principle ‘that all are created equal.’ Our work will help ensure this truth echoes loud and clear throughout our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation.’ “
The Council will initially focus on the following five strategic areas:
- Increasing Access and Representation for Underrepresented Minorities
- Providing Enhanced Support for Underrepresented Minorities
- Improving Education on Racial and Social Issues for All Stakeholders
- Deepening Commitments to Local Communities
- Raising Awareness of Racial Inequity and Social Injustice