By Cayson Frerichs
MACOMB, Illinois (News3) —A group of WIU student-athletes have created an organization that empowered black student-athletes on campus.
The WIU Black Athlete Association has formed following the surge of racial tension across the country. WIU Black Athlete Association President Carrisa Tinsley said the organization formed after the death of George Floyd and the civil unrest that soon followed.
“When we had talked over the summer about how it is to be a black athlete and how we were represented on campus and how we feel we need to speak up for our community at all times,” Tinsley said. “I hope it makes a more mentally safe space for black athletes to be able to speak their mind and to express anything that is happening to them.”
The organization held its first event on Nov. 18 at the Multicultural Center. All athletes, regardless of race, were welcome to attend. The group talked about mental health awareness and included a discussion panel with experts who talked about performance anxiety, sports injuries and body image.
“Student athletes are going through so much everyday,” Tinsley said. “You have classes, you have practice, you have homework and some student-athletes still work, they go through a lot and it seems like they don’t really get to talk about it.”
Tinsley hopes that more events like this one will bring student-athletes of all races together to share their experiences and have discussions about important topics outside of sports.
“I hope this organization brings out uncomfortable conversations that people get educated on with what’s happening in the black community and what’s happening in other communities throughout the world,” Tinsley said. “And that we are all humans at the end of the day and we need to support each other.”
For more information about the BAA, follow the organization’s social media, BAA_WIU, on Instagram and Facebook.