Hardy, Williams Reflect on S-A Summit
Jan. 23, 2018

Black Student-Athlete Summit

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Kamal Hardy and Dannah Williams felt the power and the support.

The two Purdue juniors attended the fourth-annual Black Student-Athlete Summit in Austin, Texas, from Jan. 17 to 19, and came away enriched by the experience.

"For me, the summit was both empowering and reflective," said Williams, a business management major on the soccer team. "Being surrounded by other strong and educated African-American men and women made me feel nothing less than powerful. These scholars saw opportunities and had visions, and despite the anchors society has handed us, they have transcended and created change."

The three-day summit addressed a host of topics, including academics, activism, mental health and social justice.

"I learned about the everyday issues that other black athletes are going through at other universities," said Hardy, a selling and sales management major on the football team. "The summit taught me that there is more to life than sports. Being able to meet and network with other athletes and athletics directors was a great opportunity. I realize that I am not the only student-athlete who has had a hard road getting to where I am today. Every athlete's story was different and some harder than others, which humbled me."

With their respective coach's approval, Hardy and Williams were selected for being strong students and for the potential impact they can have as leaders of their teams.

Leadership advisor Cathy Wright-Eger accompanied the two, and among the takeaways she left with were the importance of empowering black student-athletes to find a major they are passionate about, not one that "finds them"; the importance of black student-athletes associating with other blacks on campus and in the community; celebrating the differences among all student-athletes; and having a diverse and "culturally competent" athletics staff.

The summit featured four notable keynote speakers: Tommie Harris, former NFL defensive tackle; Imani McGee-Stafford, former Texas basketball player currently with the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA; Caylin Moore, Rhodes Scholar and former TCU safety; and Sanya Richards-Ross, world champion and Olympic gold-medal track & field athlete.

"There's nothing to be intimidated by anymore because these people are my people, and they started where I did," Williams said. "And to witness that firsthand through presentations and testimonies was empowering."



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