Athletes, Activism and Jackie Robinson's Legacy


Tuesday, February 5, 2019
5:30 p.m. Light reception to follow

Schoenberg Hall, UCLA Schoenberg Music Building
Parking will be available for purchase in structure 2

In honor of what would be the 100th birthday of Jackie Robinson, join the following participants for a live discussion at UCLA:

Cari Champion, anchor, ESPN SportsCenter (moderator)
Chris Kluwe, former Minnesota Viking football player, LGBT rights activist, and Deadspin contributor
Kaiya McCullough, activist and student athlete, UCLA women’s soccer team
Damion Thomas, sports curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Patricia A. Turner, vice provost of UCLA undergraduate education and professor in African American studies

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Panel Description

Jackie Robinson withstood racial slurs and violence to become the first African American to play major league baseball, opening the sport up to generations that followed. U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists for black power at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico, returning to the U.S. to death threats and uncertainty. More recently, Abby Wambach kissed her wife after winning the 2015 World Cup -- symbolizing how far the U.S. has come in support of LGBT rights -- while Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling in protest of racial injustice and police brutality has landed him a Nike ad, but no job with the NFL.

What drives an athlete to stand up to bigots, break barriers, or protest social injustices on the field or court? Why are sports a good platform for protest? What role does patriotism play? What sort of consequences have these athletes endured? What can we learn from them?