Article courtesy of WSF.
Students from six Squash and Education Alliance (SEA) programs will be given a fantastic opportunity to witness the game at the elite level while learning about U.S. history at the upcoming squash competition at the World Games, as part of an SEA coordinated trip.
The SEA – which has been supported by US Squash and World Squash with this project – is a non-profit organization which supports and launches youth programs that enable students to access and succeed in educational, squash, and career opportunities. SEA’s 19 U.S. member organizations and five international affiliates enroll more than 2,500 young people from under-resourced communities, providing academic tutoring, mentoring, travel opportunities, squash instruction, college support, and career readiness.
With squash at the World Games – an international multi-sport competition comprising sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games – taking place in the historic city of Birmingham, Alabama, this week, 29 students from all over the U.S.A. will be given the opportunity to engage with squash and history.
Students from Access Youth Academy in California, CitySquash in New York, Kids on Point in South Carolina, MetroSquash in Illinois, Squash Haven in Connecticut, and SquashSmarts in Pennsylvania will spend time watching some of the world’s top squash players – including former world No. 4 Miguel Rodriguez, world No. 15 Tinne Gilis – while also taking in educational sights, such as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum.
The southern state of Alabama is famous worldwide for its role in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and is where Rosa Parks made her famous protest, the Freedom Rides took place and Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a number of powerful speeches and was imprisoned.
Speaking about the upcoming trip, Giustina Charbonneau, Director of High School Academics for CitySquash said: “CitySquash is attending the World Squash Games not only to give students the opportunity to watch some incredible squash matches, but because for the past year our students have been reading [Bryan Stevenson’s book about his attempts to help people facing the death penalty] Just Mercy.
“Over the course of the year we have been able to have meaningful conversations about race, racism, the criminal justice system, and what it means to both give and receive mercy. The opportunity for students to visit Alabama and see the Equal Justice Initiative’s office for themselves contextualizes the book and all of the EJI’s work on an even deeper level
“We hope that our students will walk away having challenged any preconceived notions of the American South and with a stronger commitment to advocacy and justice.”
Christian Aviles, Director of College Access and Persistence for Squash Haven added: “Squash Haven is all about connecting students to meaningful opportunities within and beyond New Haven. We are so excited about the opportunity to bring a group of motivated students to Alabama as part of the World Games.
“When SEA presented us with the opportunity to participate in such a once in a lifetime experience, we immediately seized the opportunity, as we knew it could be an enriching and empowering experience for our students.
“In addition to watching a lot of competitive squash matches, we are also excited about engaging other programs from across the network to learn more about the historic events from the Civil Rights Movement that took place in Alabama. In other words, we are so excited for our students to see such pivotal moments of history come to life.”
Soo Venkatesan, Chairwoman of the Board for US Squash, reflected: “US Squash is proud and shares the vision of our partners SEA and WSF to build a more inclusive world through sport. Squash is about lifelong learning and friendship. The World Games in Birmingham, AL provides a unique backdrop for participants to connect, understand the meaning of courage in the fight for human rights, at home and with a global lens, and celebrate the resilience and camaraderie of athletes as they compete with love for country and squash.”
William Louis-Marie, WSF CEO, concluded: “Our sport is about competition but also education and we are extremely proud to support this project led by SEA and endorsed by our Member Federation US Squash. Everyone at the WSF, as a long time partner of the World Games, is delighted to have been able to assist with this project and we are pleased to note that it has been immediately supported by the Local Organizing Committee.”