Student Athletes of Color is a group founded by Lehigh athletes and coaches. In their latest meeting, they stressed the importance of learning about Black History. (Courtesy of Student Athletes of Color)

Student Athletes of Color identify long-term goals


At the end of Black History Month, members of Student Athletes of Color discussed the importance and long-term goals of having the group on Lehigh’s campus.

While the group posted several informational videos and conversations during Black History Month about Black excellence, they want to show people that Black history is important all year long. 

Teasha McKoy, a junior thrower on the track and field team, said the group provides a safe space for student-athletes of color to connect, talk to each other openly and know that they aren’t alone.

“In my case, when I was first coming to Lehigh, or just in any situation where I’m new anywhere, I always look to see people that I can relate to,” McKoy said. “I think that having that representation and that diversity be visible to people is important.”

McKoy said oftentimes when you learn about Black history, you hear about how Black people have struggled and their tumultuous history.  

She said the emphasis the group focuses on now is highlighting that the struggle is a big part of their history, not all of it and that they have since grown stronger and continue to do great things.

“It’s about representing how far we’ve come, but also recognizing the excellence that we have currently and how we can look to that now in addition to looking at our history,” McKoy said. “Looking to that excellence to fuel our own passions and help us achieve more. Because it’s been done, so we can do it too. It’s encouraging, I would say.”

Stephen Grant, a sophomore thrower on the track and field team, said that it’s important to have a group that student-athletes of color can go to talk and get to know each other. 

“I remember my freshman year coming into Lehigh, the only other athletes of color I saw were my teammates and one kid in the weight room,” Grant said. “That was it. That was the majority that I saw on a regular basis.”

Grant said that on a campus where you don’t see people that look like you often, walking into a classroom or a weight room can make you feel alone. 

“We have coaches and advisors, all who are people of color, so if there are any issues, it kind of helps to talk to somebody who understands and who gets it, because they have been in your shoes before,” Grant said. 

Divine Buckrham, senior and captain of the football team, said that the group provides a sense of security and brings student-athletes of color around people who are going through similar things and face similar daily challenges. He said that the group is especially important at predominately white schools, like Lehigh, and a lot of other schools in the Patriot League.

“It’s more of a safe space and makes you feel more comfortable with the school that you are at, especially for the freshman newcomers,” Buckrham said.

Buckrham said that one goal for the Student Athletes of Color is to become more of a solidified club on campus and gain more awareness and engagement with athletes. He said that he hopes to get more people involved and participating in their discussions.

McKoy added  that a more long-term goal of the group is to diversify campus and that the group helps recruit more diverse faces to campus because when people see that they’re represented, they feel more like they belong and more comfortable on campus 

She said that Lehigh Athletics is starting an anti-racist initiative and that one of the goals is to have recruitment and retainment of student-athletes of color.

McKoy said another long-term goal of the Student Athletes of Color is to get more representation throughout the Lehigh Athletics Department so that they can have more of a hand in different aspects of the department, McKoy said.

“One of those ways is having a more diverse coaching staff or having more athletes of color getting involved in our engagement groups and trying to really spread our influence throughout campus,” she said. “That way, we can start making change in the greater Lehigh community.”

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