The recent murders and racist crimes against George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Christian Cooperand many others, paired with a global pandemic that further illustrated health inequities, served as an awakening and inspired many to think about what they can do to advance change. With no hesitation, we saw many of our students join together to help others and raise awareness, including rising sophomores Maria Ramos and Sarah Levy. With a shared love of crew and sports, and inspiration from athletes on social media who were designing and implementing advocacy campaigns, Maria and Sarah knew they could use the camaraderie of GFS teams to advocate for justice - at GFS, within Philadelphia, and throughout the country. And so they developed Action Through Athletes (ATA).
ATA, which will begin as a fall club in just a few short weeks, is committed to bringing awareness to difficult and wide-ranging injustices in our world through athletics, striving to create a brighter future through education, fundraising, and advocacy of underrepresented groups and important issues. ATA believes that because of Germantown Friends' Quaker roots, we are called to action and believe that dynamic teamwork is a unique channel for change.
"We have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with our Black community members and use athletic platforms to further commit to combating issues of racial injustice and inequality," shared Maria and Sarah.
In partnership with team captains and players, as well as the Athletics and Advancement departments, Sarah and Maria developed their first project as part of ATA: a summer fundraiser and awareness campaign. Student-athletes were asked to workout in any way they could (erging, running, weight and conditioning, etc.), track their progress, and look for sponsors, with 100% of the proceeds of ATA supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming at GFS. While their first fundraiser is almost complete (the deadline has been extended to August 31), there will be ongoing education, awareness, and further fundraising challenges.
This is just the beginning for Action through Athletes. Maria and Sarah are looking to partner with outside organizations and the Friends Schools League, organize and hold drives, create a series of campaigns, and work with other internal groups to strategize change and action. To donate, visit www.germantownfriends.org/ATA and stay tuned for more information about this campaign.