PHOENIX — Valley sports executives came together to form an unprecedented panel discussion about systemic racism in America and how sports organizations can enact social change.
“This is the first time anyone’s done this in the country,” said organizer and founder of HeroZona Alan “AP” Powell.
“Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we saw a void and we wanted to take advantage of it. We really appreciate all our owners, presidents and CEOs of these professional franchises being receptive to having a conversation."
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley, Arizona Diamondbacks Vice President of People and Culture Joe Walsh, Phoenix Raceway president Julie Giese, and Arizona State University athletics director Ray Anderson made up the panel.
The event lasted two hours and each team representative was given the platform to answer questions and share about the change they’re creating within their organization and in their individual sport.
“We want to be proactive, not reactive,” said Powell. “Something happens, we all want to be able to combine our strengths and relationships and be able to talk it through before we destroy our communities.”
HeroZona is a non-profit organization that works with veterans, first responders and those that bring social good to future generations and under-served communities.
They’ve hosted 12 forums with different participants but the event was the first sports edition.