SPARKS, Md. — US Lacrosse is proud to work with Nation United Foundation (NUF), Black Lacrosse Alliance and other stakeholders in the lacrosse community in supporting the WE STAND initiative, an effort aimed at promoting anti-harassment and anti-racism in sports.

Open to all members of the lacrosse community, WE STAND is rooted in a change management model adapted to help ensure sustainable progress. The movement involves a schedule of ongoing events designed to increase support, create community, and empower allies. Our goal is that participating stakeholders will serve as catalysts for greater diversity, inclusion, and empowerment in sports.

US Lacrosse has a number of resources to help assist in the effort. A US Lacrosse landing page for the initiative provides links to the organization’s anti-harassment policy, an online cultural competency course, a schedule of upcoming trainings and educational webinars in partnership with RISE and social media graphics individuals can download to show their support.

“We need coaches and administrators to become intentional in their commitment to inclusion and to stand against all forms of discrimination,” said Eboni Preston Laurent, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for US Lacrosse. “This movement isn’t just about taking a pledge. It’s about action. It’s about social justice. There’s a monumental opportunity here for us to really enact change in our lacrosse community and we want everyone to get behind that.”

The group has been soliciting individuals and organizations to join them in the pursuit to shift the culture within the lacrosse community to one that firmly opposes unjust or prejudicial treatment based on racial bias, socioeconomic and familial status, sexual orientation, physical abilities or gender identity. Since the inception of NUF affiliate, Nation United Lacrosse in 2015, they have recorded more than 20 incidents whereby acts of discrimination in the sport have led to damaging outcomes including emotional trauma, compromised safety, loss of scholarships and negative publicity.

“I believe it’s important to develop a culture where all athletes have a sense of belonging because we are stronger together,” said Jules Heningburg, co-founder of the Black Lacrosse Alliance and a Premier Lacrosse League player. “Exclusion creates isolation, and for many, that becomes a heavy burden mentally, emotionally and physically. It is our duty as leaders to foster an inclusive environment where all athletes feel, genuinely, part of the collective so we can see their full potential come to fruition.”

“Developing a lacrosse culture that firmly opposes exclusivity, systemic racism and harassment is a moral and business imperative for the sport,” said Jeremy Ardrey, Executive Director of Nation United Foundation. “We are thankful for those who have chosen to come together as a community on this important issue and look forward to others joining the movement soon.”

Getting involved is simple. Take the pledge today at www.WeStandInitiative.com. Use social media to spread the word and get others to pledge. Download and share the official WE STAND Initiative logo card on social media using the hashtags #WeStandInitiative and #WeStandStronger.