BCRN Statement on Diversity

June 16 2020

BCRN Let's Rugby

BCRN Statement on Diversity

Recently a reader from Ontario, posting anonymously in the comment section, suggested that our four person panel for the Super Rugby Aotearoa predictions wasn't diverse enough. They suggested the addition of a woman and a person of colour, it was pointed out that one person was Maori, but it made me realize we need to publish our position on social issues currently occupying the headlines, consider it our statement on diversity.

When I say our position, it's basically my position as Editor, so I'll give a brief overview of my background, as I believe actions speak louder than words.

I'm a strong supporter of women's rugby, I took the Greater Victoria Junior Secondary School Athletic Association (GVJSSAA) to the BC Human Rights commission twenty five years ago when they wouldn't allow my daughter to play on the boys team as there was no girls' league back then. It took a year but we eventually won the case and that set the precedent many years later when former Canada U20 player Jess Neilson faced the same problem in middle school. I continue to be an avid supporter of women's rugby.

That being said there aren't enough women writing about rugby. I would encourage clubs in 2021 to assign more women to the match reporting/media liaison role and I would encourage more women to step up into that role. Individual articles can always be submitted to editor@bcrugbynews.com

I'm a strong supporter of indigenous rights in Canada, I was there from the beginning in the creation of the Thunder Indigenous Rugby program. One of the original students at the camp, Meagan Wilson and her mother Melanie Squire, went on to create the Iroquois Roots rugby program in Ontario. I continue to support indigenous rights and indigenous-led organizations. I was incensed by the killing of Chantel Moore in Edmundston, NB during a wellness check and I believe there needs to be changes to policing in Canada.

I understand the outrage of the Black Lives Matter #BLM movement in the United States and in urban areas of Canada. I'm proud that one of our national team players, Pam Buisa, was instrumental in organizing the protest in Victoria. Her words in an article written by Patrick Johnston ring true, "The rugby community is so beautiful. And what I love about the sport of rugby is that being different, having different skill sets is an asset".

It's one of the things that drew me to rugby in the first place, its inclusive nature.

Feel free to comment but not anonymously.

Pemberton Holmes
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