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Open Letter from the Black Employee Resource Group, "Black @ Pac-12," ahead of Juneteenth

Jun 18, 2021

The following is an open letter from the Black Employee Resource Group at the Pac-12 Conference & Pac-12 Networks, better known as "Black @ Pac-12:" 

Dear Family,

Phew, it has been a year! We have all had our ups and downs getting adjusted to what we’re calling our new normal. On this Juneteenth, we’d like to take a moment and reflect. As Black employees, students, athletes, people, this past year has been especially taxing. Throughout it all, our resilience, our pride, our anger, and our hope has allowed us to be where we are now. Juneteenth is a day of liberation. Though, as we celebrate, we continue to acknowledge our history and the struggles our ancestors endured for their freedom and ours. 

The Black Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Pac-12, better known as Black @ Pac-12, has spent a lot of time trying to focus on Black joy and celebrating the Black experience, and what that means to us as individuals and as a community. We’ve come to realize that we often focus on how much work we have to do to make a better future for ourselves and the younger generations that we forget to take a moment to recognize what we’ve achieved. 

Collectively, we have made a space for our voices to be heard within our company and within our conference, and that isn’t something to be taken lightly. We’ve stood up for ourselves and held our ground on what we as an internal community deem important. The space we have demanded for ourselves is noticeable, as is the time that has been taken to enlighten our peers on the Black experience both in and out of the office. We continue to push boundaries and have been given a platform for company-wide education not only on Juneteenth, but other holidays integral to Black culture such as Kwanzaa, along with sessions held by the Institute for Sport and Social Justice. 

In the midst of everything heavy, we have made it a priority to laugh and enjoy our culture in the virtual workspace; not to mention we’ve hired a few more people that look like us. As the first successful ERG within the Pac-12 Networks and Conference, Black @ Pac-12 has set the precedent for other ERGs and anti-discrimination efforts. There is now a space for people within our company to feel comfortable and secure in creating additional groups such as the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) ERG and Pac-W, the women’s ERG. 

We know Juneteenth isn’t until tomorrow, but since it falls on a Saturday, we’re sharing this now so we can allow ourselves some time to unplug, and are taking the rest of today off to kickstart our celebrations. We hope your week is coming to a close on a positive note and wanted to contribute to that positivity before the weekend gets started. Happy (almost) Juneteenth!

With Love and Power,

Black @ Pac-12

Alexa March, Angela Wells, Cherie Cole, Chris Grant, David Coleman, David Perry, Gio Mejia, Hana McGuire, Henry Watson, Juwaan Williams, Keisha May, Leah Ard, Merton Hanks, Rachel Thomas, Sean Harris, Tiana Henry, Tim Russell, Vaughn Arterberry, and Will Hunter