Grace Cathedral Forum Online with Dr. Harry Edwards: Out of the Comfort Zone
Wednesday, October 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sports don’t exist in a vacuum, and sometimes it is whether you win or lose and not how you play the game. Injustice and inequity are reflected and reinforced in sports as they are in all areas of our society. And sport has long served as an arena for the struggle for racial justice. Athletes such as Tommie Smith and John Carlos, to Colin Kaepernick have served as powerful agents for change. But even many of their fans continue to be uncomfortable about their protests on the podium at Olympic medal ceremonies or on the field during the National Anthem. What does the activism of athletes and our reception of it tell us about who we are?
Dr. Harry Edwards has had an outsized influence over the history, culture and understanding of the role of sports in society. Professor at UC Berkeley for 30 years, he invented a field of study, the sociology of sports, and provided the foundation for all its assertions. He was the lead organizer behind the Olympic Project for Human Rights which led to the most widely recognized protest in sports history – when American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised Black Power salutes atop the Olympic medal stand in Mexico City in 1968. Beginning in the mid–1980s, he began consulting on issues of diversity for the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. He arranged seminars on finances and social interactions and essentially invented the modern system of player counseling and support.
Each year the cathedral chooses a theme for inspiration and reflection, and in 2021 our theme is healing. Join Dean Malcolm Clemens Young for a conversation with Dr. Edwards about sports, athletes and how they play a role in healing racial injustice and inequity.
Register here to join the Zoom webinar
Space is limited. The Forum will also be broadcast on Facebook, and posted on our Youtube channel for viewing following the livestream.
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About the Guest
Dr. Harry Edwards is considered the leading authority on developments at the interface of race, sport, and society and a pioneer in the development of the sociology of sport as an academic discipline in America. He was awarded an athletic scholarship to San Jose State University, and completed a M.A. and a Ph.D. in sociology at Cornell University. He was a professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley from 1970–2000. He was the lead organizer of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, and advocated a Black athlete boycott of the 1968 Olympics among other protest efforts to dramatize the racial inequities and barriers confronting Blacks in sport and society. Edwards became a consultant on issues of diversity for all three major sports. The programs and methods he developed for dealing with issues and challenges facing professional football player personnel were adopted by the entire NFL in 1992. The NFL also adopted the Minority Coaches Internship and Outreach Program that he developed with Coach Bill Walsh at the San Francisco Forty Niners in 1986. He has written scores of articles and four books: The Struggle That Must Be, Sociology of Sports, Black Students, and The Revolt of the Black Athlete.
About the Host
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young is the dean of Grace Cathedral. He is the author of The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau and The Invisible Hand in Wilderness: Economics, Ecology, and God, and is a regular contributor on religion to the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner.
About The Forum
The Forum is a series of stimulating conversations about faith and ethics in relation to the important issues of our day. We invite inspiring and illustrious people to sit down for a real conversation with the Forum’s host, Malcolm Clemens Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral, and with you. Our guests range from artists, inventors and philosophers to pop culturists and elected officials, but the point of The Forum is singular: civil, sophisticated discourse that engages minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world. More about Grace Forum Online.