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On January, 24, 2017, SJSU launched the institute at Sport, Activism and Social Change: From Words to Action, a special event focused on athlete activism.


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Full Program


About the 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.



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