Austin FC, like many in the sports world, spoke up for racial justice in the landmark summer of 2020 after being galvanized by the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. This coming Thursday, October 1, the Club continues this important work by inviting the community to speak on racial justice matters — and by listening intently to what community members express.
Specifically, Austin FC will put forth two questions on its social media platforms, giving the Austin community a chance to weigh in during the 24-hour Instagram and Facebook story windows. Anyone wishing to do so will also be able to respond via email. The questions are:
What is most important to you as Austin FC conducts its anti-racism work?
What are your ideas for the best ways that Austin FC can support racial justice?
“We feel it’s essential to put these questions to the community and to initially just listen,” noted Kaitlin Swarts, Austin FC’s Vice President of Community Impact. “Austin FC has aimed from the outset to be a Club for all of Austin and to encourage inclusivity. We recognize that the battle for racial equity cannot be won single-handedly. Instead, it will require all of us, as one Club, to work together to create lasting, meaningful change in our community. We’re looking to our community to share their vision for what that meaningful change looks like.”
On June 4, the Club took to Instagram to declare its commitment to taking action for racial justice, and Thursday’s invitation to the community is another step toward that goal.
In the statement, the club noted, “We are a young club, and we feel it is important to take time and listen. We commit Austin FC to an identity based on action that helps to establish unity in our city. We know effective and meaningful change does not happen overnight, but we are ready to do this work. We invite you to join us and to hold us accountable, now and forever.”
The June announcement also included some initial steps the club took to forge an identity based on action: a donation to the Austin Area Urban League toward its goal of “enabling African Americans and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights,” a pledge to recruit and retain employees of color, support the Restorative Justice work of the newly-named Verde Leaders, and the creation of a forum for fans — which is what Thursday will be all about.