Though Felecia Hamilton ’22 feels at home playing field hockey, she was sitting in a sociology classroom when she came to a realization about her experience in the sport.
“Even though there are people of color on my team, I am the only black person. And so I realized that every time I go somewhere, like when we play another team, I count how many black girls are on the other team and wonder what their experience is like,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton resolved to talk to other athletes of color about the issues they face, which rekindled her interest in an idea she came up with last year for a new affinity group: Minority Athletes of Kenyon (MAK), which held its first interest meeting last month. Attendees discussed their plans and goals for the group and more than 30 students have expressed interest in joining.
Once the group gains official recognition from the Student Life Committee, they plan to partner with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to get involved in the athletic recruitment process. Hamilton plans to host panels for prospective student-athletes of color and their parents on admissions visit days and to take an active role in pairing recruits with hosts for overnight visits.
Outreach to prospective students will involve “taking a different route than most other groups on campus would take,” Hamilton said. “Other than that, [MAK will] be like other groups on campus—meeting regularly, having discussions that have to do with what our lives are like right now and how we experience our sport.”
To refine her idea for MAK, Hamilton worked with other athletes of color, many of whom she knew through other affinity groups such as the Black Student Union, Sisterhood and Adelanté. She noted that the evening meeting times for those groups often conflict with practice times for athletes.
“It just helps to have something available and accessible for athletes who also may not feel like they can attend those groups because of how involved they are with their team,” she said.
Though it is an affinity group, which means that some meetings and events will be open only to athletes of color, all students are invited to join MAK. The group will hold its next meeting after winter break on Tuesday, Jan. 21.