( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Brown Girls Do Gymnastics is Paving The Way For Black and Brown Athletes
ENSPIRE Contributor: Halima McDoom
Brown Girls Do Gymnastics (BGDG) is an important narrative that has been championing a space for Black and brown girls who compete and introduce them to the world of gymnastics. Recognizing a culture of racism and isolation, Founder Derrin Moore founded BGDG in 2015 and the Inaugural BGDG Conference in 2017. The event attracted young brown and Black gymnasts from across the county.
This year BGDG will celebrate its 5th year at Grambling State University, collaborating with The Doug Williams Center (DWC), Ruston Lincoln Convention, and Visitors Bureau from July 23, 2021, through July 25, 2021. The collaborative event will include an array of workshop series, tours, and exhibitions to promote diversity and awareness for young girls and women interested in gymnastics. Before becoming an advocate for diversity in gymnastics, Coach Derrin was head coach of College Park Gymnastics. In 1999, she led the first all-Black team to win the Georgia State Championships. She also opened In Flight Gymnastics & Circus in 2005.
“Gymnastics has always been in my heart. It is an amazing sport, and it can help you in life. It’s not just about being the next Simone Biles; there are so many life lessons you learned from the sport. The platform allows our girls to network, share, and bond with other girls who look like them in a safe and nurturing space,” Moore stated.
Since the beginning, Moore’s passion for mentorship through gymnastics significantly affected young girls and women. “Having an organization that encourages and supports other Brown Girls in the sport is special. There is strength in numbers, and with a growing community like BGDG, I believe we can inspire so many more to join the sport,” said Chae Campbell, BDGC representative committed to the University of California, Los Angeles.
The organization helps women throughout their careers in the acrobatic sport and inspires them to challenge the negative stigma surrounding women of color taking part in gymnastics. “The organization has truly helped me navigate as a parent the current harsh realities of gymnastics for brown girls,” states Dr. Tammira Lucas. “BGDG has helped my daughter feel as if she belongs in this sport,” she continued–which is the ultimate goal for Moore and other Black gymnastics advocates. In a world where there is so much diversity, it is imperative to embrace differences in every aspect of life, including sports, and that’s what Brown Girls Do Gymnastics aims to accomplish. “I hope that through this collaboration, people will eventually learn not to attach race to activities,” Moore stated. “If a child says they want to do the sport, adults should try to highlight the opportunities that can come from a non-traditional sport and support them,” she continued.
Approaching the issue of access equality, The Doug Williams Center provides advocacy support for the conference and the larger movement for diversity and inclusion in competitive gymnastics. “Current conversations surrounding Simone Biles’ fair treatment in professional gymnastics further highlights the need to support Black women and girls in this sport from beginner to elite levels,” said Raven Thissel, Marketing & PR Director at the DWC. This conference introduces more young gymnasts of color and their parents to the opportunities that gymnastics can create for their futures.“
The trailblazing conference will take place at and is hosted by Grambling State University, making this year’s event a significant opportunity to acknowledge the need for embracing non-traditional sports throughout minority communities. Grambling State is the first historically black college and university to commit to implementing a gymnastics program for students – helping the dreams of many young Black and brown girls and women come true.
For more information on how you can register your gymnast to participate or attend, please visit http://www.browngirlsdogymnastics.com.
Registration for the Brown Girls Do Gymnastics Conference is available online at http://www.browngirlsdogymnastics.com.
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