Big Ten includes nine Illinois representatives in Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition

Senior+Runningback+Ra%27Von+Bonner+celebrates+a+touchdown+during+the+match+against+Akron+on+Aug.+31%2C+2019.

Photo Courtesy of Craig Pressman / Fighting Illini Athletics

Senior Runningback Ra'Von Bonner celebrates a touchdown during the match against Akron on Aug. 31, 2019.

By Jackson Janes, Assistant Sports Editor

The Big Ten Conference announced the members of its Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition on Monday, including nine representatives from Illinois: senior running back Ra’Von Bonner (football), sophomore middle blocker Kennedy Collins (volleyball), sophomore forward Kennedi Myles (women’s basketball), women’s diving coach Manny Pollard, softball head coach Tyra Perry and four other Fighting Illini Athletics employees.

The newly formed Coalition consists of members from all 14 Big Ten schools and features student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors and other Big Ten personnel. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren announced the Coalition’s formation on June 1.

“The events in our country and around the world during the past few months have strengthened my fundamental belief in our need to develop tangible and actionable efforts in a collective manner and provide viable solutions addressing the issues of hate and racism in our society,” Warren wrote. “We have the distinct opportunity and responsibility through our coalition to continually encourage, educate and empower our student-athletes as we embrace transparent and much-needed dialogue regarding meaningful issues that have impacted race relations for many years.”

Warren announced the creation of the group following the death of George Floyd and protests across the nation. He and his wife, Greta, also announced a $100,000 donation from the Warren Family Foundation to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a social justice group that focuses on the injustices faced by African Americans and other ethnic and racial minorities.

“Meaningful change will only occur if, as a nation, we are united, resilient and determined to create difficult, uncomfortable dialogue and take significant tangible action,” Warren wrote in an open letter on June 1. “We all need to strive to make the world a better place. One person, one family, one city, one state, one conference, one country. … The Big Ten Conference will be part of the solution as we actively and constructively combat racism and hate in our country.”

The Coalition’s goal is to “seek tangible ways to actively and constructively combat racism and hate around the world while also empowering student-athletes to express their rights to free speech and peaceful protest,” according to the Big Ten’s website.

Bonner enters his third season with Illinois and wants to make an impact at the school, the Big Ten and society as a whole during his time in college.

“I am thankful to have been nominated for such an incredible union,” Bonner said, via Fighting Illini Athletics. “I am an agent of change and will use my platform to create real change in this country. I am very motivated and dedicated to progressing my people, BLACK people.”

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