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CMU BLAC (Black and Latinx Athlete Coalition) Statement

January 18, 2021

The formation of Carnegie Mellon’s BLAC (Black and Latinx Athlete Coalition) Chapter comes in light of the recent increased visibility of the systemic oppression of and violence against people of color, especially Black individuals, in this country. Currently, Black student-athletes only make up 3.3 percent of the population in CMU Athletics.

As Black and Latinx student-athletes, the totality of our identities is often unrecognized. We are Black and Latinx before we are student-athletes. Until our identities as Black and Latinx individuals are fully resourced and the accompanying racism we face at systemic and personal levels is acknowledged, we cannot strive towards and achieve our potential as scholars, athletes and leaders unencumbered.

Our mission as the Carnegie Mellon Black and Latinx Athlete Coalition is:

  • To build a cohesive, centralized affinity group and network of support, camaraderie and mentorship amongst Black and Latinx student-athletes and alumni as we navigate our experiences on our teams, in our classrooms and in the world.
  • To work with the athletics administration to hold staff, coaches and our fellow student-athletes accountable for attitudes and actions that do not promote an environment of inclusive excellence where Black and Latinx student-athletes and those of other underrepresented minority groups do not feel fully welcomed, valued or embraced.
  • To establish a legacy of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence through actively serving as ambassadors in the process of recruiting more underrepresented minority student-athletes at Carnegie Mellon to address the current lack of representation within the program. We also commit to working to empower the Black and Latinx youth of Pittsburgh in underserved communities through sustained partnership and service with community organizations with missions that align with our desired impact.

We, the inaugural chapter of the Carnegie Mellon University Black and Latinx Athlete Coalition, are requesting full support from the CMU Athletics department to assist us in fulfilling our mission and ensuring a truly equitable and inclusive community by committing to the following actions:

1) Engagement from a departmental level in true activism and allyship to endorse the positive affirming experience of underrepresented student-athletes.

Building an authentic rapport with and understanding of current underrepresented minority student-athletes and the issues we face

2) Investment in cultural competency trainings and events required of all athletic administrators, coaches and student-athletes.

This action step aims to remove the task of educating others on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion from underrepresented minority student-athletes and asserts that it will be the equal responsibility for all members of our community

3) Inclusion of BLAC members in decision-making processes in CMU Athletics and greater university initiatives.

As leaders on our teams and across campus, members of BLAC should be in consistent dialogue with the athletic administration and university leadership as representatives of our communities to advocate for inclusive policies creation and implementation

While this list of requests and affirmations of our mission is not exhaustive, it serves as the first step in protecting and enhancing the experience of Black and Latinx student-athletes as we begin to work with the athletics department to identify and enact necessary changes to continually live up to our community’s mission and values. We are committed to and excited about collaborating with other student organizations and departments in the Carnegie Mellon campus community to ensure that the changes we are striving towards are ubiquitous and that everyone, regardless of race, can fully experience what it means to be a Tartan.

Inaugural co-leads Joshua Pinckney '21 and Obi Nnaeto '22

Carnegie Mellon Statement of Assurance:

All currently enrolled students-athletes are eligible to be members of the organization. No individual shall be excluded from membership in this organization because of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, ancestry, belief, veteran status, or genetic information, so long as the individual is supportive of the mission of the organization. The organization will abide by the Carnegie Mellon University Statement of Assurance.