Video aims to tackle racism in Manitoba sports

A new video is taking aim at a pervasive problem in sports.

Several prominent Winnipeg athletes, coaches and officials shared their experiences to show the impacts of racism and to stop it from happening.

As a curler, Shawna Joynt medalled at the Canadian Deaf Games held in Winnipeg in 2018. She said because she’s hard of hearing and Indigenous her participation in sport has meant breaking down barriers.

“Trying to make sure I understand to hear properly and I wasn’t given a lot of the opportunity to play because of my skin colour,” Joynt said.

It’s why Joynt, who is now vice president of the Manitoba Deaf Sports Association, shared her experience in the video aimed at demonstrating and eliminating racism in sport.

The video, which was released by the Anti-Racism in Sport Campaign features Andrew Jean-Baptiste of the Winnipeg Valour FC, retired Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan, volleyball Olympian Wanda Guenette and many other Manitoba athletes, coaches and officials.

Gololcha Boru, a project consultant for the Anti-Racism in Sport Campaign, said recurring incidents of racism in sport prompted the campaign to help ensure the safety of youth participants.

“It’s pervasive and hopefully this campaign can shine a light on it and maybe we can reckon with racism within sport,” Boru said.

The Anti-Racism in Sport Campaign is also working on releasing a research component to highlight how often incidents of racism are occurring in sports throughout the province.

It’s an issue which is still fresh in the mind of parent Roger Brightnose.

His 16-year-old son Keagan had opposing fans and players direct racist remarks towards him at a high school hockey game in Swan River Oct. 31.

Brightnose hopes the release of the video creates more awareness.

“It’s a really good feeling that they’re reaching out to other athletes as well, such as our son Keagan, who’ve experienced this type of behaviour,” Brightnose said.

Joynt, who has two teenage sons of her own participating in sport, is now seeing the issue as a parent and team manager.

“I don’t tolerate that kind of stuff and I get involved and we discuss about this and I make it clear to a lot of the coaches — how would that make you feel if that was your kid going through that,” Joynt said.

She hopes sharing her experience will help demonstrate all people, regardless of their background, have an equal right to play.

The campaign is visiting schools and will also offer anti-racism training opportunities for provincial sport organizations, community centres as well as parents and officials.

You can watch the full video here:

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