The recent increase in the profile of the BLM movement has provoked and widened a much-needed national conversation about the continuing existence of racism in our society.
Part of the NPA’s response has been to engage with our members, VNSL coaches and Franchise managers in an NPA Equalities Forum. Liz Bloor, Director of the NPA said “We want to ensure that players voices are central when discussing the issues that exist and proposing solutions that their association can work with them to develop."
Following an initial meeting of the 16 volunteer members of the forum, Pamela Cookey former England International and NPA Alumni Member co-hosted a players forum, which provided an opportunity for players to discuss the racial diversity within netball and to share some personal experiences of racism in netball. Sophie Hankin from Surrey Storm took part in the players forum and said "hearing the experiences that some of our players in the Superleague, my friends, have had to deal with racism doesn't sit right with me. Our focus now in the equality group is to support our players and educate ourselves further."
Dr.Emma Kavanagh, a member of the NPA professional support network and co-hosted the forum said, “The players voice will be key as we move forward with this initiative, taking positive action to widen support for our members and explore options of how to address issues of racism that may occur in netball.”
NPA member Halimat Adio was praised by the netball community for her bravery in articulating her views about the BLM movement, raising the point that it is an important topic for all of us all to educate ourselves on. Halimat contributed to the forum and said “Equality in the netball community is extremely important, being able see players who look like me, make it to international level has been a massive driving force in my career. There are so many phenomenal individuals involved in the netball community, but I wait for us to get to the point where we are more inclusive of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. At that point I think, netball would have truly made it!”
Sasha Corbin an active member of the NPA recently spoke to The Telegraph about the BLM movement and her own Solo Sessions Inspire Programme that reaches out to 11-14 year old girls from BAME backgrounds across London to provide them with an opportunity to get involved in netball. Commenting to the Telegraph she said “I feel more of a responsibility to continue to reach out and give these girls opportunities….it’s important to be able to deliver to those inner-city girls. The movement has made me want to connect with even more young people.”
The official #BlackLivesMatter Global Network builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe.
The Equalities Forum has further meetings planned to provide players, coaches and managers from the VNSL clubs with an opportunity to discuss important issues of equality in netball. These meetings will support a vision of actions for the NPA as we aim to support and facilitate players to have a voice and raise awareness around some pertinent areas in netball.
This article was written by Amy Cowd