Students in Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management considered the role sports plays in social justice during a virtual panel on Monday, Nov. 9.

Panelists Dr. Anna Baeth, senior research member with Athlete Ally; Jordan Marie Daniel, Native American athlete and social justice advocate; Dr. Alicia Johnson, director of the Women’s Center at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; and Steven Solari, former collegiate, NFL, and CFL football player and speaker on social justice, offered their comments and advice on questions including what it means to fight for social justice, whether sports make the fight easier or harder, what professional leagues can do to facilitate equity and inclusiveness, and how the results of the presidential election changes what social justice advocates do.

The panelists noted that increased accessibility and representation across all populations in sports is vital to using the platform it has in society in a way that promotes social justice. Because people pay attention to and enjoy participating in sports, it can be “the great equalizer in a lot of different capacities,” said Dr. Baeth. “I think sport can be a really great platform for really effecting change, or if not effecting change, at least having conversations.”

Student leaders in sport management introduced the speakers and served as the moderator of the panel. Dr. Cheryl Rode, assistant professor in the college, organized the event.