ISSSSC Inaugural Town Hall

Sport, Activism and Social Change: From Words to Action

On January 24, 2017, SJSU launched the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change with a special inaugural event focused on athlete activism. Take a look back at this historic day, learn about the athlete activists who led this event and get recaps of the thought-provoking discussions surrounding the ISSSSC's mission.

SJSU Alumni Featured at the Town Hall

We are exceptionally grateful to the following alumni who attended our inaugural town hall: Harry Edwards, ’64 Social Science, ’16 Honorary Doctorate, Tommie Smith, '69 Social Science, '05 Honorary Doctorate and Marc Spears, '95 journalism. Since attending SJSU, each has crafted their own unique legacies. Edwards is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete. Smith went on to become an Olympic track and field gold medalist, where he participated in an iconic protest for human rights. He also coached track and field at Oberlin College where he was also a professor. Spears, having written for multiple sports publications around the country, is now a senior writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated, chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force. Keep scrolling to learn about the other legends we had at this event.

Speakers and Panelists

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Six-time NBA champion and the league’s all-time leading scorer, as well as the author of Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in recognition of his commitment to equality and justice.

Jocelyn Benson
CEO of RISE and director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School. Author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, Benson was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.

Anquan Boldin
Wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2016 and the NFL Man of the Year in 2015. In 2004, Boldin founded the Anquan Boldin Foundation, also known as Q81, to provide opportunities for underserved children.

Jim Brown
Running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957-1965 and Pro Football Hall of Famer, helped create the Black Economic Union in the 1960s to promote economic development in African-American communities. In 1988, he founded the Amer-I-Can Foundation, which supports a life management training program designed for the next generation.

Harry Edwards, ’64 Social Science, ’16 Honorary Doctorate
Professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, Edwards is author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete, Edwards is considered to be the father of the sociology of sport.

Ann Killion
New York Times best-selling author and an award-winning sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She co-authored Solo: A Memoir of Hope with professional soccer player Hope Solo and Throw Like a Girl with softball star Jennie Finch.

Kevin Merida
ESPN senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, is an award-winning journalist and the first African-American to hold a managing editor position at The Washington Post. He is the editor of Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril.

Danielle Slaton
Sideline reporter for the San José Earthquakes and former soccer analyst for Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network, played for the Women’s United Soccer Association and the U.S. Women’s National Team, earning a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics and bronze in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Her father, Frank Slaton, ’71 Physical Education, was a member of SJSU’s famed Speed City team.

Tommie Smith, ’69 Social Science, ’05 Honorary Doctorate
Smith won Olympic gold in track and field at the 1968 Mexico City games, where he participated in an iconic protest for human rights. He coached track and field at Oberlin College, where he also taught sociology, and later at Santa Monica College.

Marc Spears, ’95 Journalism
Senior writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated and chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force. He has written for Yahoo Sports, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, The Tulsa World, the Los Angeles Daily News and The Courier-Journal.

Takeo Spikes
Former NFL All-Pro linebacker, is an analyst at NBC’s Pro Football Talk. He is the author of Behind the Mask, a series of books that showcase the personal and professional lives of Pro Football Hall of Famers, featuring Spikes’ photography of football legends.

Chris Webber
Five-time NBA All-Star, NBA analyst for Turner Sports, and host of “Fearless or Insane with Chris Webber,” a podcast that discusses sports and athletes, and their impact on culture, politics and society. In 1993, he founded the Chris Webber Foundation, which promotes literacy for young children.

News & Editorials

Locker Room Talk: Jim Brown Met with Trump Because "I'm Interesting in Helping My People"
The Undefeated on 1.26.17.

Athlete Activism All About Men, Apparently on 1.26.17

Pro Athletes Discuss Sports and Political Activism at SJSU
ABC News on 1.24.17

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown Help SJSU Announce Launch of New Institute
KRON4 on 1.26.17

San Jose State Forms Institute on Sport and Social Change
KQED on 1.23.17

From Words to Action: Renowned Athletes Stimulate Social Discussion in San Jose
NBC Bay Area on 1.24.17

Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Join with San Jose Sate to Launch Social Activism Institute
The Undefeated on 1.26.17

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