Basketball Ireland has formed a new six-person Diversity Panel to assess integration in Irish basketball. It will make recommendations to the Basketball Ireland Executive on the implementation of proactive initiatives within the sport.
It is important that the good intentions expressed in recent weeks in the wake of the George Floyd killing in the United States be followed through on.
This is a good first step from Basketball and it brings together a diverse group from across the basketball ‘family’.
Matt Hall, Basketball Ireland’s Senior Technical Officer, pictured above, will chair the panel. He will be joined by Pyrobel Killester player Michael Westbrooks, DBS Eanna player Hillary Nets, Dundalk Ravens coach Fu Paapito, Noli Alngohuro, a prominent member of the Filipino basketball community in Galway and Bunmi Aoko, who is the mother of Irish underage international Michelle Ugwah.
Michael Westbrooks welcomed the move by Basketball Ireland and said: “It is an honour to be involved with the new Basketball Ireland Diversity group. It is an opportunity to address some of the issues facing black people and people of colour within the basketball community. I am excited to be a part of this, while trying to help further the sport within Ireland.”
Speaking about the new Diversity Panel Basketball Ireland Chairman, Paul McDevitt, added: “This is an important initiative and am delighted that the five people mentioned have accepted our invitation to join the group and advise us on policy. Basketball Ireland always has an open-door policy to all races and genders and this group will help us in spreading that message.
The group’s work will focus on five key areas in the new Basketball Ireland Diversity Pillars
Openness – Focusing on creating a welcoming environment for anyone interested in basketball to get involved in the sport.
People – Training and development of people (both professional staff and volunteers) to create a more inclusive environment.
Communication – Ensuring that the presentation of Irish basketball is reflective of the full playing population and that clear diversity resources are made easily available on the Basketball Ireland website.
Activities – Working on new activity structures to ensure there is an entry point to the sport for anyone who would like to play/coach/officiate/volunteer.
Transparency – Present updates on the Panel’s work and new initiatives to ensure this is not a token gesture and that the work is given the support it warrants.
Anyone who would like to make suggestions to the Diversity Panel, or to Basketball Ireland, can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Any issues of racism can also be reported confidentially to email@example.com