Interview with UMKC Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin
Interview with UMKC Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin Kansas City
This is a message to Kansas City Athletics Family:
Our staff, coaches, and student-athletes are broken-hearted, saddened, and dismayed by the developments surrounding George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and other African Americans murdered in recent months. These atrocities are nefarious and represent a racial divide that remains in our nation. It is undoubtedly the latest wake-up call that needs to be addressed by each of us with a spirit of determined solidarity.
Systemic injustice is not a thing of the past or simply a political issue to be marginalized and bandied when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be approached urgently with moral fortitude. As proud citizens of this nation, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot paradoxically ignore these brutalities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life.
Recently, we have witnessed countless acts of urban unrest across our nation. It is critically important that our nation understands that the unrest is not a consequence, but the cause of systemic racism. Simply put, is it a matter of what is not being heard, who is not being heard, and who is silencing those from being heard? It should not take the acts of unrest for African American voices to be heard, valued, and considered in the equation of advancing our nation. These voices are not myopically focused on African Americans who are disenfranchised, but those who are college students, business owners, in various roles and capacities in academia, and even those in the boardroom.
Kansas City Athletics will continue to counter racism and bigotry of all kinds. In that effort, we have the full support of Chancellor Agrawal, Senior Administration, and the Campus Community. Equity, diversity, and inclusion will remain a hallmark and anchor in our Athletics Department and our University. We recognize our responsibility to demonstrate conviction in the virtues of equity, access, and respect for inclusion. We will commit ourselves toward uniting versus dividing, multiplying acts of kindness and love instead of subtracting from our departmental ethos of family.
We must take a multi-pronged approach toward eradicating systemic injustice. As the leader of the Kansas City Athletics Department, I plan to launch “Discourses of Being Black in America” a virtual roundtable series for African American student-athletes, coaches, and staff. In this period of emotional displacement and volatility, I need to be responsible and be hands-on in this effort. By doing this, I will hear their stories, discover the pain points, and find substantive ways to enact meaningful change. From this roundtable, we will collaboratively develop concrete solutions with long-term implications for healing and advancement.
Additionally, in the upcoming weeks, I plan to incorporate comprehensive Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity programming entitled “Roos Elevating: Lifting Lives, Mindsets, and Consciousness for Change and Unity” for all members of the Kansas City Athletics Department. My hope is these strategies will bring about the needed transformation of understanding respect for difference, promoting the need for justice and equality, and ending the Goliath of racism in our nation.
I feel honored to serve as your Director of Athletics in this critical time in our nation’s history.
Yours in Solidarity,
Dr. Martin signature
Dr. Brandon E. Martin