Student athletes join new Connecticut College Athletes of Color Coalition
Connecticut College Athletics has announced the formation of the Connecticut College Athletes of Color Coalition (CCACC) to provide support for and empower all student-athletes of color to safely share their respective experiences in and out of the game.
Overseen by Ebony Manning, Conn’s Title IX coordinator, and head women’s basketball coach Jackie Smith, the coalition is designed to amplify voices, establish a social network, and foster dialogues on diversity and inclusion in athletics.
“I have the great opportunity to serve as the liaison between the Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion and the Connecticut College Athletes of Color Coalition, and it is my pleasure to work with a group of student athletes who are committed to enhancing the experience for student athletes of color on campus,” said Manning. “Sometimes it can feel lonely to be the only or one of few BIPOC students on an athletics team, so it is wonderful to have a group of students who will serve as a support system for student athletes of color. I am excited to see what they are going to do this semester and for years to come.”
The group currently consists of student athletes from the men’s basketball, women’s rowing, sailing, men’s soccer, men’s squash, women’s squash, women’s tennis, women’s track & field, and women’s water polo programs.
“I think that the formation of the CCACC is long overdue, and I am hopeful that this opportunity will allow athletes of color at Conn to be heard, understood and uplifted,” said Stephania Lopez ’21, a women’s water polo captain and three-time All-American. “While we have a lot that we would like to accomplish, the biggest thing for us this year is to establish ourselves as a coalition and create a space where athletes of color from all teams can connect.”
Smith is excited to serve as a mentor to the student athletes and has been impressed with what they have accomplished so far.
“The CCACC is a group of extremely impressive student athletes,” Smith said. “They have done an amazing job of creating a safe space for their fellow student athletes of color to converse and share experiences. In a very short amount of time, they have organized themselves and are focused on making an impact on this campus. Their motivation is inspiring, and I hope to amplify their voices and support them the best that I can."
Student athletes who wish to join CCACC should reach out to a current member or to Smith.
“We know that there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and we understand that change won’t come overnight,” Lopez said. “However, we are all committed to help improve the culture of athletics at Conn so that every athlete of color—regardless of their sport, race, class, sexuality or gender identity—feels supported and represented.”