skip navigation

Meet the USA Fencing Community Councils: What They’ve Done, What’s Coming Next

01/13/2023, 7:15am CST
By Bryan Wendell

The USA Fencing Cultural Community Council recap is a quick, important read for anyone who wants to improve how they interact with members of underrepresented groups within the fencing community.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For a primarily individual sport, fencing thrives on teamwork and community support.

That’s especially important for members of communities that are, to date, underrepresented in fencing. Creating safe spaces for these groups was the driving force behind the creation of USA Fencing Cultural Community Councils.

You may remember that last year, we solicited nominations for the initial wave of five Cultural Community Councils: 

  • Asian Heritage Council

  • Black Heritage Council

  • Empower HER (Women’s Empowerment Council)

  • Hispanic Heritage Council

  • Pride+ Council

These councils are designed to bridge the gap between the national office and members of underrepresented groups within the fencing community. 

Each council is composed of five to 12 individuals who identify as members of the given community. They represent a range of fencing constituencies, including coaches, athletes, parents, referees, legal counsel, and even members of the national office staff.

The councils have begun meeting to share their experiences and recommendations with one another and members of USA Fencing’s staff, including Shannon Jolly, senior manager of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Today, we’re pleased to share the Cultural Community Council recap — an overview of what’s been captured so far at these council meetings, what’s been done already to create safer spaces for marginalized groups and what’s on the horizon as we continue this positive momentum into 2023 and beyond.

The recap also offers important insight into the individuals who comprise each of these councils, including their demographic background and how they feel they are perceived by the world, the fencing community and themselves. 

Each council’s section includes a box of recommendations, outlined in red. If you only read one thing in the report, read each of these.

As you’re reviewing the report, keep these four questions in mind:

  • How can we better show up for all of the diverse communities that we serve?

  • How are we being conscious of the language we use to describe various cultural groups in media and other communications?

  • How can we be intentional in welcoming diverse audiences to our sport?

  • How do we reinforce transparency throughout all segments of the sport?

We thank these groups for their service to USA Fencing and encourage all members of the community to pause to review this report.

Read the full report at the link below.

Tag(s): Updates