Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: The Time Is Now

Club Industry’s series on diversity, equity and inclusion is in collaboration with BLAQUE.

Talking about race and racism is never easy for people who live in a country divided by race. And talking about it as it relates to the fitness space is just as difficult. However, the time to have the discussion and move the industry to action is long overdue. The time is now.

As author James Baldwin wrote in 1962 in The New York Times: “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Club Industry is embarking on a series of articles addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in the fitness industry. During the next several months, we will focus on the systemic racism that has created disparities in the industry and the history behind it.

Club Industry will give a platform for people in the fitness industry to share their concerns, opinions and experiences related to the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry as well as actions individuals and companies can take to do the right thing.

Our first article is a Step by Step article written by T’Nisha Symone of BLAQUE that jumps right into four action steps for white people who want to be allies to people of color.

In the coming weeks, we will share articles with facts around the status of people of color in the country and our industry, wage data, health disparity issues, and how our nation’s history has affected the ability of people of color to participate in exercise and to work in the fitness world.

We will turn our platform over to people of color in the industry, starting with Black members of the fitness community, so they can share their thoughts on systemic racism, diversity, equity and inclusion. Some of these individuals will share first-person profiles.

We will share with you some video panels in which people of color will talk openly about their experiences, challenges and victories.  

In addition, we will give the platform over to some of the health clubs, YMCAs, parks and rec facilities, and university rec centers as well as suppliers who are implementing measures to overcome the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion that resides in the industry today.

Acknowledgements

Club Industry would like to acknowledge Symone for her efforts beyond the Step by Step on allyship that she penned. She also helped guide us as we formulated the series. She composed the questions that the Black members of the fitness community have responded to. Some of the Black professionals who participated in this series did so because of their friendship with her and their trust in her.

We also thank the following people for their insights and help as we put together this series:

Dr. Antonio Williams, CEO of Identity Branding and Marketing LLC and associate professor and director of graduate studies at the Indiana University School of Public Health

Rodney J. Morris, CEO for Workplace Culture Workout

Deslyn Norris, chief people officer at Fitness Connection

Amira Polack, founder and CEO of Struct Club

Katherine Quinn, customer success coach at Sneeze It

Most especially, we would like to thank all of the individuals who are sharing their expertise and experiences in this series. Talking about racism and exclusion is painful, causes anxiety and can be wearying for people of color. That each individual agreed to devote energy to this topic is appreciated and commended. 

Special Note

Club Industry follows the Associated Press (AP) style guide, which is one of the most followed style guides for the media. In June after two years of study and debate, the AP began capitalizing the “b” in black when it refers to people in a racial, ethnic or cultural manner. So in keeping with AP style and in agreement with that decision, Club Industry also now capitalizes the “b” in black when it refers to people in a racial, ethnic or cultural manner. By capitalizing the “b” in Black, the AP says it is “conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.” At the same time, the AP will also capitalize Indigenous. The AP expects to announce in a few months a decision on whether to capitalize the “w” in white when it is used for people in an ethnic, racial or cultural manner, but its current style is lower case. For that reason, Club Industry will also keep the “w” in white lower case.

Ann C. Toledo

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