LONG ISLAND (Feb. 1, 2021) – The Long Island Nets, the NBA G League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, have launched “Team Up for Unity,” a new community program, presented by National Grid, aimed to combat racism in high school sports on Long Island, in partnership with Section VIII in Nassau County and Section XI in Suffolk County.
Through the “Team Up for Unity” program, the Nets, Section VIII and Section XI will provide high schools on Long Island access to information and helpful resources on diversity, equity and inclusion. These tools will be shared with coaches, student-athletes, superintendents, athletic directors, principals, Boards of Education and other school administrators to help them identify and combat racism in both their schools and athletic programs.
“Sports have historically played a powerful role in uniting people and often that has resulted in furthering social justice,” said Alton Byrd, Vice President of Growth Properties, BSE Global. “The Long Island Nets are proud to work alongside our partners in Nassau and Suffolk counties to combat racism in all forms, beginning at the high school level, and ensure equality is achieved across all of Long Island.”
“Interscholastic athletics is an educationally based program in our schools, and one of our goals is to cultivate the unique gifts and talents of all student-athletes free from racism and all forms of social injustice,” said Superintendent Henry L. Grishman, Nassau County Chairperson to Section VIII Athletics Committee. “’Team Up for Unity’ will allow our students to be educated in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion in order to achieve this goal.”
“Our goal is to accept and celebrate all student-athletes through one of our most coveted educational platforms – interscholastic athletes,” said Jeremy Thode Principal/Athletic Director/Section XI Diversity Equity & Inclusivity Chairperson. “The voices of our student advocates are the most effective way to ensure positive and lasting change, and it is the perfect time for our future leaders of society to be the change agents. ‘Team Up for Unity’ will help to broadcast their voices.”
Schools registered with the “Team Up for Unity” program will have the opportunity to participate in equality and anti-racism events and trainings, including chalk talks with Long Island Nets players and staff on their experiences with racism and bias, and virtual conversations with local business leaders to hear how businesses are combatting social injustices and systemic racism/bias. Participating schools will receive posters and banners highlighting resources and organizations that students and employees can contact if they experience or witness racism or bias.
Administrators will also join quarterly panels hosted by Erase Racism, and anonymous surveys will be distributed to student athletes at participating schools in order to highlight the frequency of students’ experiences with racism and bias during Long Island high school sporting events. School administrators will also host student-to-student conversations as a way for student athletes to share their views and experiences with racism.
The conversations and panel discussions on how to recognize and address racism in both school and sports will take place via Zoom and are free to the public, even to those not participating in the “Team Up for Unity” program. The first of these monthly conversations will take place on Tues., Feb. 16 with Jackie Wilson, Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion for BSE Global, the company which manages the Brooklyn Nets, Long Island Nets and Barclays Center.
“Team Up for Unity” is also supported by Minuteman Press of Levittown. For more information on the program, including a complete schedule of upcoming virtual events, please visit www.longislandnets.com/unity.