Members of the ELLA have been disturbed, to say the least, at the comments and stories which have been coming out over the past few weeks involving racism, sexism and other kinds of bigotry. We recognize this is nothing new, but are ever saddened by how prevalent it remains amongst talk of inclusion, acceptance and justice for those discriminated against. We are especially hurt to hear of it happening in lacrosse. A game of healing, used to resolve conflicts and shared with us by a now marginalized people should be the last place this happens…but it does.
The way many members of the lacrosse community have stood up in support of those being discriminated is inspiring to see. We support everyone trying to live their best lives, in harmony with the rest of society, in being who they are. Lacrosse has had many very influential and great people including women, people of all racial backgrounds and those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. Without many of these contributions our sport would not be what it is today. But we feel the lacrosse world, as a whole, still has a long way to go to be free of bigotry.
To many, lacrosse has come to be seen as a rich white boys sport. An air of exclusivity has been associated with it. There is always talk of places with “the right demographics” to grow the sport, and it is abundantly clear those demographics are white people with money. This needs to change. Our sport cannot grow if we only look to involve the same group generation after generation. Exclusion of any kind, at any level, has no place in lacrosse.
The ELLA aims to work with our local organizations and community to get everyone involved in lacrosse. To us, not having “the right demographics” just means that there is a huge market being completely ignored, to whom we can reach out. We believe that inclusion in the sport we love will not only help it grow, but teach kids early on to accept and respect differences in everyone. Bigotry is a very big and very difficult problem to take on. Its roots run so deep through society it often exists where people don’t think to look. There is no single “right” answer. But if we continue on the same path, we will never reach a point where people don’t have to live in shame or fear of who they are. We can’t change the whole world, but we can start making it better through lacrosse.