The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University will present a lecture by Richard Lapchick, Ph.D. entitled “Diversity in Sports.” The lecture will be at 7 p.m., Nov. 10, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, inside the Dugan Library and Campus Center on the Newman campus.
Lapchick is a human rights activist, the author of 16 books, and an international authority on the sports world. Lapchick’s passion for human rights began when touring concentration camps in Germany at the age of 14. His father Joe Lapchick, former coach of the New York Knicks, was the first to sign an African-American player to the NBA. His father taught him “that a leader is somebody who stands up for justice and doesn’t block its path,” Lapchick said to an audience during a TEDx talk in 2010. Witnessing his father stand for racial equality inspired Lapchick to become a human rights activist.
Lapchick has said the “Sports can help us change society.” About 45 years ago, he worked to end apartheid in South Africa by leading the sports boycott, which was one of his first major endeavors and led to him meeting Nelson Mandela when Mandela was inaugurated as president. Later, he would establish multiple organizations including the Center for the Study of Sport in Society and the National Consortium for Academics and Sports. According to the consortium’s website, in 1997 Lapchick received the Arthur Ashe Voice of Conscience Award. In 2004, Lapchick was inducted into the Sport in Society Hall of Fame, which features Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, and Wilma Rudolph among its members.
Lapchick has been able to use sports as a unifying tool following tragedies. After the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., was devasted by Hurricane Katrina, Lapchick, along with the Orlando Magic, went to help rebuild the city. Lapchick has said that “sports can help us be inspired.” He said the people in New Orleans lit up when they saw the Orlando Magic, “not even their team”, and he noticed some of the people were wearing Saints t-shirts, since that was the last piece of clothing they had on before the storm hit. A 106-year-old woman told Lapchick that when she saw the Orland Magic she knew that they represented the people of America, and that New Orleans would be able to rebuild. The consortium’s website states, “Dr. Lapchick’s mission of ‘changing lives through the power of sport’ continues to charge on.”
Lapchick has written more than 500 articles and has given more than 2,800 public speeches. He has spoken in the United States Congress, at the United Nations and in the European Parliament.
The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies was created to promote dialogue about Catholic thought and practice in many different areas, including educational, social, and cultural life. For more information on the Gerber Institute, visit www.gerberinstitute.org.