LBS Does Not Condone Racism
Lil' Big South Community –
We have struggled to find the words to address our current day America. The death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, yet again, awakening the undeniable need for change in this place we choose to call home. But what hurts our hearts the most is that there are people within our own volleyball community who are suffering, who are hurting and who need us to stand beside them – We understand we will never understand, but we want you to know that we stand with you.
We, The Lil' Big South Staff, are not experts. We don’t know the answers. But we want to help figure out what the answers are. We do know that silence is not it and that we have a voice that most do not – and it is our responsibility to step in and speak up with that voice. We have chosen to re-evaluate ourselves as a staff and as a family, before addressing the volleyball community.
LBS is a tournament of 1,900 junior female athletes. 1,900 strong, competitive and independent athletes who have voices that are as important as anyone else’s. 1,900 voices that could change the world. We are all existing in a time that could be noted in history as the turning point for America and so we invite you to join us in our journey to equality for all.
LBS has chosen to value the difference between Empathy over Guilt
Empathy is understanding and sharing the feelings of another – it’s about listening to those who experience fear, oppression or inequality and acknowledging that it happens to them.
Guilt is an internal feeling focusing on oneself – You can’t change the color of your skin and the color of your skin does not make you a bad person.
It is not the job of the privileged to feel guilty, it is the job of the privileged to listen.
LBS has chosen to have an inner conversation
We are making an inner commitment to be consciously aware of what we say and how it can affect others. We are asking ourselves if we have made an oppressive or racist comment before, whether it was intentional or unintentional.
Treating people equally does not mean treating them the same. It means acknowledging that we are all different, but we must treat each other with equal amounts of respect for who we are, and what we have experienced.
Because, change cannot happen in a household, until change happens within.
LBS has chosen to have conversations with our own families
We are exploring how prejudices may be alive under our own roofs, even if unintended.
We are discussing solutions and an action plan on how to make positive changes within our own families.
We recognize that not seeing color is not the answer and have chosen to understand that it is our responsibility to RESPECT, HONOR, AND ACCEPT all color. For that color is America. WE, of all colors, make up this country.
Because, change cannot happen in your community, until change happens in our home.
LBS has chosen to have conversations with our community (in our case, our BSQ staff)
We are making a concentrated change to adjust the dialogue between our staff members – our teammates.
We will be more aware of how we talk and how it could be offensive to others. We are asking the question; do we censor our dialogue if a teammate who is a person of color is around? If so, why?
We are learning from our friends of color on their experiences, asking them the questions, but most importantly, we are LISTENING to the answers – We are educating ourselves on their experiences so we can better understand the change we are trying to create.
Because, change cannot happen in society, until change happens within our community (in your case, your team).
LBS is committing To SPEAKING UP.
If we hear something, we will say something. We acknowledge that we have been in situations that were uncomfortable, where we genuinely didn’t know what to say. But we acknowledge that it is our responsibility to speak up and point out when language and actions are inappropriate.
LBS has chosen to educate ourselves on action items:
These are all small steps we can take individually. And every small step gets us closer to victory in the end. It is time for us all to be a force that creates change.
The Lil' Big South Community is one that is ever changing, and always growing; but more than anything we are a FAMILY. So, to every POC who is a part of this family – past participants, current participants and future participants – We hear you. We see you. We stand with you. We support you. We love you.
The Lil' Big South Staff