Dave Leitao Supports the Advancement of Blacks in Sports
CHICAGO – The Advancement of Blacks in Sports (ABIS), a newly formed non-profit organization with a mission to connect and inspire people to boldly advocate for racial, social, and economic justice for Blacks in sports, has been established. ABIS works to foster a culture of equity and inclusion in all aspects of sports.
Since the tragic death of George Floyd, ABIS founder and basketball grassroots coaching legend, Gary Charles, has meticulously identified and partnered with a unique collaborative team of leading African American professionals in sports, music, law and business to assist in the normalization of equal rights and fair treatment of Black people.
Charles notes, “The passing of John Thompson means another American Icon has passed away. One of the best ways to honor him is for us to continue the legacy he started. We have not been fully embraced in the board room, had more head coaching positions, and been consistently blocked out of revenues earned through contracts specific to athletics. ABIS seeks to align with student-athletes and other professionals who are willing to use their voices for the betterment of all Blacks in sports. It’s time for advancement!”
Keys to victory for ABIS include economic sustainability, education, grassroots and community outreach, racial equity research, and student athlete engagement. These keys to victory serve as the guiding framework for the elimination of inequitable hiring and retention practices in sports, access to economic opportunities at sporting events for black business owners, increasing awareness of the value of curriculum that teaches African American history, the promotion of civics and voter engagement, assistance with transition of student-athletes from graduation to careers, and the protection of student-athletes during and outside of competition.
DePaul head coach Dave Leitao has taken a leadership role in ABIS as Executive Vice President for Men’s Basketball and as a co-chair of the Hiring Practices committee.
“I view myself as someone that can be an agent of change and this group provides an opportunity for a collective voice because sports are so important in our country,” said Leitao. “These efforts are not just for basketball, but also for racial equity across the board in all sports. The framework has not been fair to student-athletes, coaches and administrators at all levels and we want to use our voices to connect, inspire and create positive change in each of our areas.”
ABIS officially launched on September 2, 2020. For more about ABIS see www.weareabis.org.
ABIS Executive Committee and Board Members Include: Gary Charles, ABIS Founder; Felicia Hall Allen, Felicia Hall Allen & Associates; Jackie Carson, Furman University; Etop Udo’Ema, director of Compton Magic (Adidas Grassroots Basketball); Nikki Fargas, Louisiana State University; Leonard Hamilton, Florida State University; Rob Lanier, Georgia State; Dave Leitao, DePaul University; Kimberly Morgan, USA Track & Field; Terrell Myers, We R 1(Under Armour Grassroots Basketball); Heather Palmore, Esq. (Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, Law Firm); Marquis “Bo” Porter, Bo Porter’s Future All-Stars Development Academy; Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina; Keith Stevens, Team Takeover (Nike Grassroots Basketball); C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers University; Dr. Deborah Stroman, University of North Carolina; Guy Troupe, Troupe21 & Associates; Ben Crump (Civil Rights Attorney), Michael Hausfeld (Human Rights Attorney), Dr. Richard Lapchick (University of Central Florida); Tracey McGrady (Former NBA Player) and Chuck D (Rapper).