Since the death of George Floyd in May, people around the world have stood in solidarity and have spoken out against the racism and social injustice that occurs to Black people in the United States.
On Aug. 24, Cal State Fullerton Titans Athletics released a statement in regards to their new anti-racism and allyship campaign: Voices of the Heard.
With endorsements from vice president of student affairs Dr. Tonantzin Oseguera and President Fram Virjee, Voices of the Heard is creating an opportunity for student-athletes, staff and administration to be able to express their mind and spread awareness in regards to anti-racism.
“The best thing is to just amplify the voices of the coaches and the student athletes and the staff, and acknowledge what they are saying,” said Sean Collins, assistant sports media director of Titans Athletics.
Collins is one of many within the athletics program who helped push for the campaign starting May 25, the day Floyd was killed. One of his goals is to get participation from student-athletes and staff, in hopes that they are comfortable enough to share their voice without the fear of being put down for their opinions.
By having important figures from within the university share how they feel about racism and social injustice, the idea is for others to be able to internalize and understand where those people in the community are coming from.
Coaches at CSUF are already on board with the campaign, such as Ashley Preston, the women's volleyball head coach, along with Dedrique Taylor, the men’s basketball head coach.
“What I see with this campaign and what they are trying to accomplish is making sure everyone feels seen, heard, and understood. I think that’s the bottom line of the campaign,” Preston said. “This is a human rights issue, and taking out the political part of it, and taking out the news and social media part of it, that’s what they’re trying to develop with the campaign.”
Taylor has a similar view on the campaign, emphasizing the importance of reaching out and educating the community, no matter how difficult it may be.
“To use this as a way of connecting and communicating with our community, through the student-athletes and through the athletic department, it’s a no-brainer,” Taylor said. He added that even though it will not be easy, educating those within our community is vital, and that there is no place better suited for it than CSUF.
The vision behind Voices of the Heard is about forming unity within the community. Titan Athletics took the initiative of creating a platform for their student-athletes and staff members, with the intention of people involved to not only feel safe, but to have their voices be heard.
With the help of President Virjee along with other staff members, showing their support against the racism and social injustices occurring today, is telling as to what the community within CSUF and Titan Athletics is trying to accomplish.
“Speaking out on behalf of the marginalized communities is the very definition of patriotism, and both Titan Athletics and Cal State Fullerton commits to do that with ever-increasing courage and conviction,” Virjee said in a Titan Athletic’s Twitter post.
For other members, such as Preston, being a part of this campaign is more than just speaking out, it is about being true to herself.
“I’m not here to convince someone of something. I’m just here to be my unapologetic self: to be proud of who I am as a black woman,” said Preston.
The consensus amongst those within the campaign is to create something that is bigger than the campaign itself. According to the initial statement from Titan Athletics, this is not a moment, but a movement.