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2022 Inclusion Forum to welcome King, Parker among keynote speakers

The NCAA Inclusion Forum returns in 2022, bringing together administrators, coaches and student-athletes from member schools around this year’s theme of “It’s Time: Delivering on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.” The 10th annual event will take place virtually June 15-16. Registration is open until June 3.

“The Inclusion Forum is always an event where attendees can experience that sense of belonging and support no matter how they identify,” said Felicia Martin, NCAA senior vice president of inclusion, education and community engagement. “The 50th anniversary of Title IX adds another layer of significance that will be celebrated through reflection on how far we’ve come and encouragement about how far there is left to go. It’s important we use this time to motivate and inspire one another.”

The list of speakers is full of experts representing the NCAA office of inclusion’s five core areas: disabilities, international student issues, LGBTQ matters, race/ethnicity and women/gender equity.

Sports icon and champion for equality Billie Jean King is scheduled to speak to attendees on the event’s first day, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Title IX with a special keynote address. King won 39 Grand Slam titles as a tennis player, including a record 20 at Wimbledon, on her way to one of the greatest careers of all time. In 1973, 90 million people watched her defeat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes,” a seminal moment in the history of women’s sports. Life magazine named King one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.” On Aug. 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama for her advocacy work on behalf of women and the LGBTQ community.

On the second day of the Inclusion Forum, attendees will hear from college and professional basketball legend, entrepreneur and NBA broadcast analyst Candace Parker. The Tennessee graduate led her team to NCAA Division I national championships in 2007 and 2008, earning Most Outstanding Player at both Women’s Final Fours and National Player of the Year in each season. Her professional career has included two WNBA championships (2016 and 2021), two WNBA Most Valuable Player awards (2008 and 2013) and six WNBA All-Star selections (2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2021). She has also won two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012). Besides her WNBA career, she is an NBA analyst for Turner Sports on TNT and NBATV. Parker will be presenting on “It’s Time: Kicking Glass, Breaking Barriers & Inspiring Social Change.”

Other speakers on the second day include Haben Girma, the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School and a disability rights advocate, and Yorri Berry, a poet and children’s rights advocate.

In addition to receiving several other awards and recognitions, Girma was named a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama. She believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches the importance of choosing inclusion. The New York Times; Or, The Oprah Magazine; and the “Today” show featured her memoir from her, “Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law.” Girma’s presentation is titled “It’s Time: Leading & Advocating for Access and Inclusion.”

Berry founded the DREAMSgirl Summit, a holistic multiday conference that gives hundreds of middle and high school girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math the opportunity to shadow STEM professionals in the workplace. She is a former energy, tech and health care consultant and has managed educational and community development projects for Martha’s Table Inc., KIPP Los Angeles Schools, Communities in Schools and the Children’s Defense Fund. She will be closing the event June 16 with a special spoken word performance.

Registration for the 2022 NCAA Inclusion Forum is free. Sign up at Attendees get access to each of the keynote presentations noted above, plus additional sessions for more targeted conversation and development. Preview the entire agenda here.

For more on the Inclusion Forum, click here.

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