Washington and Lee athletes form minority coalition

Published: Nov. 7, 2020 at 10:55 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Washington and Lee University basketball player Erin Addison says this past summer’s attention on race helped generate the group.

“We never felt like we had to talk about it," she said. "But now the opportunity was here and people were willing to listen, and I’m really glad we capitalized.”

Named for Tony Perry, the school’s first African-American inductee into the W&L Athletics Hall of Fame, the Perry Minority Athlete Coalition was founded by three lacrosse teammates.

“I knew that there would be clubs such as the one that we’re forming now on campus," said junior Johnny Hsu. "And I was surprised that there wasn’t one.”

Danny Kung, a sophomore, explained, “This was something we all felt really extremely strong about. We all really wanted to get involved.”

“At first I was kind of nervous cause I hadn’t really broached such serious topics before," said Kai Nelson, a senior. "But I don’t know, I just kind of always felt my teammates would have my back.”

They recruited Addison as part of organizing through the summer, and now are reaching out to the more general student body.

“It’s not a homogeneous school, obviously," Addison said. "We like to think of it that way, of the W&L experience, cause you do get, everyone does get such a great education, the liberal arts experience is amazing, but everyone is different who comes here and having this moment to learn that is incredible.”

It’s a chance to talk to their fellow students off the field about race and life in a more personal way.

“Hopefully, with the way that we’re doing it, we’ll be able to make it more human, more holistic," Nelson said. "You’ll get opinions from actual community members.”

“And it’s been overwhelming but also really humbling," said Hsu. "And it just feels good to have support at all ends.”

Nelson said, “I’m really excited.”

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