Texas Border Business
RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is inviting the Valley community, and anyone who wishes to engage in meaningful conversations regarding racism and social injustice, to take the pledge to promote peace, equality, human rights and social justice as Vaqueros United.
Anyone interested in taking the pledge, learning more about Vaqueros United initiatives or downloading Vaqueros United picture frames and wallpapers can do so at GoUTRGV.com/VaquerosUnited.
“Since Monday, I have proudly watched as my fellow student-athletes, coaches and staff signed the pledge so we could be ‘350 strong,’” said UTRGV SAAC PresidentRachel Yu, a senior on the UTRGV women’s golf team. “I’ve also been very touched by the number of people on campus and in the Valley who have reached out asking how they can get involved.
“Vaqueros United is not just about student-athletes. It’s about all of us coming together in one strong voice, promoting peace, love and equality,” she said.
The Vaqueros United pledge reads:
As a Vaquero and member of the UTRGV Community, I am committed to upholding the rights of people of all walks of life and addressing the inequalities of society. I am committed to stopping divisive conversations and starting productive discussions that promote unity and understanding. I stand committed to the inclusion of all races, genders, religions, and nationalities. I stand united with my fellow Vaqueros against racism and hatred. We share a commitment to continuing the conversation of love, acceptance, and awareness for social justice and human rights. Together, we will promote peace, love, and equality.
We are Vaqueros for change. We are Vaqueros United.
UTRGV Student Government Association President Tori Lozano said the SGA’s mission is to proactively represent and serve the collective.
“That means addressing student concerns while creating supportive environments that enhance the quality of the student experience at UTRGV. That is why we are asking every member of our community to join the Vaquero Family in taking the Vaqueros United Pledge,” Lozano said.
“Let’s stand together in fighting for the inclusion of all races, genders, religions and nationalities. Let us stand together against racism and hatred and continue to impact our community for the present and future,” she said.
“Together, as Vaqueros,” Lozano said, “We will stand united.”
She cited the words of the late John Lewis: “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.”
The Vaqueros United campaign includes numerous initiatives, including, but not limited, to:
- Working closely with the Student Government Association, the Black Student Union, the UTRGV Police Department, The Herd, Student Affairs, University Marketing & Communications, the President’s Office, and other offices and organizations within the UTRGV community.
- Hosting roundtable discussions with student-athletes, staff and outside guests to promote safe, open dialogue and bring awareness to the issues being faced.
- Participate in discussions with media outlets to promote change.
- Establish a workshop series for student-athletes on how to effectively use the student-athlete platform to champion causes that are personally important.
- Making Election Day an off day from all athletic-related activity. During the lead up to Election Day, which is Nov. 3 this year, UTRGV Athletics staff will provide voter education to student-athletes, staff and coaches.
- Create a video series that promotes the commitment of individuals and the department as a whole to celebrate the diversity within UTRGV Athletics.
- Create a Vaqueros United T-shirt and posters to promote these initiatives and bring awareness to the fight against racism and social injustice.
- Create public service announcements that will be featured during all home contests in 2020-21.
Additionally, all student-athletes will wear a Vaqueros United patch on their competition apparel throughout the 2020-21 academic year. The patch was designed through a collaboration between SAAC and department staff.
“We’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from the university community to Vaqueros United over the past few days, and I am excited to invite the entire Valley community to take part so we can all collectively do our part to promote change,” said Chasse Conque, UTRGV vice president and director of Athletics.
“I thank the Student Government Association and University Marketing & Communications for their support and for broadening our platform to bring the campus and community together as Vaqueros United.”