On Friday, Dec. 4, during the 2020 USHJA Virtual Annual Meeting, presented by Equicore, the newly formed USHJA Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Committee hosted a free webinar to discuss fostering an inclusive and open culture in equestrian sport, identify opportunities for betterment, and to detail the committee’s action plan.
In a collective statement from the USHJA board of directors, the board stated: “The USHJA board of directors opposes all forms of racism and bias in hunter/jumper sport. Acknowledging that many people with marginalized identities, but particularly people of color, have faced barriers to participation in equestrian sport, we are committed to improving opportunity and eliminating any form of exclusion. In addressing these issues we believe that we can create an inclusive, welcoming environment for all groups that have been traditionally underrepresented.”
Led by chair David Loman, and committee members Hadley Zeavin, Maya Schneider, Sissy Wickes and Jane DeCosta, the interactive presentation analyzed the current state of diversity amongst the USHJA membership, utilized member experiences to help educate and bring awareness to common microaggressions, and provided tools to help address and respond to situational microaggressions and discrimination.
The committee also unveiled its action plan:
- Provide unconscious bias and diversity awareness training for USHJA staff, board and committee members.
- Develop and include unconscious bias and diversity awareness content for inclusion as part of the USHJA licensed officials education and instructor credential.
- Identify solutions to reduce obstacles to equine sport faced by marginalized populations, and to increase the popularity of equine sport in marginalized communities.
- Work with competition managers to implement multilingual signage at shows.
- Create a directory of BIPOC and queer owned or operated equine facilities and businesses as a reference for all members to use to connect with, encourage and support equestrians from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Work with USHJA resources to establish marketing and messaging strategies that riding facilities, show managers and others can use to attract and encourage the participation of historically marginalized individuals in equestrian sports.
- Establish a leadership and mentorship program which identifies and connects equestrians from traditionally underrepresented groups with opportunities to:
- Audit clinics
- Visit and tour barns and equestrian facilities
- Intern or be a working student at a riding establishment
- Shadow or intern with a show manager and/or show staff
- Shadow licensed officials
To watch a recorded video of the session, click here. For more information about the 2020 USHJA Virtual Annual Meeting, presented by Equicore, including meeting resources and the schedule, visit ushja.org/annualmeeting.