Like many of you, the USWRF Board of Directors has watched the events of the past few weeks with anger, sorrow and frustration. It is hard to fathom and bear witness to the callous murders of fellow citizens and the intentional harassment of peaceful protesters for exercising their constitutional rights, both at the hands of police. Sport has always held an important place in civil rights struggles. The power and voices of athletes, coaches, and all those who engage with sport in any way is needed now more than ever.
We know that many of you are out there on the front lines protesting and organizing. Many of your athletes are also engaged in the struggle – and many of you and your athletes are victims of ongoing, institutionalized racism. Many of us feel deeply hurt, angry and paralyzed. But we are rugby players. We do not fear contact and we do not fear conflict. Our shoulders were built to carry heavy loads.
It is the position of the USWRF Board of Directors that President Trump is ineffective, divisive and racist. As a recent New York Times Op-Ed offered, “Black Americans have had enough, they have an explosive, personal investment in defeating Mr. Trump in 2020. More than 80 percent of them say Mr. Trump is a racist. For them, defeating him is the civil rights movement of 2020. And it is not an empty threat. If black voters returned to the polls at their 2012 levels, the Democratic presidential candidate ‘would win the Electoral College by 294-244,’ according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress."
To defeat Trump, we need to vote! Overall voter participation in the US is critically low and 60 percent of non-voters choose not to do so because they miss a deadline or don’t know the process for registering. With over 600 college and club rugby teams in the U.S., our goal today is to help rugby coaches impress upon their players that their vote matters and that the very future of our country depends on it. To that end, WRCRA has created a voter tool kit with information and links about how to register and vote in the November election. We encourage everyone to share this widely. We also plan to update it regularly as additional resources become available.
USWRF and WRCRA make no apologies for our partisanship. We also recognize that removing Trump from office through the 2020 election is only one small step towards dismantling centuries of systemic racism. We are committed to being firmly anti-racist in the way we run our organization and serve the women’s rugby community, listening to our Black teammates, learning from our mistakes, and taking action to create change.