The Men of Color Collective has officially kicked off their series of events for the year with “The Locker Room,” a panel that was hosted on Nov. 21. Billie Sheikh ’24, a member of this year’s leadership team, hosted over 20 students and provided them with the opportunity to speak to two alumni and coaches from the Lewis & Clark community, Assistant Football Coach Forest Sherman and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Randall Jackson from the men’s basketball team.
“The whole concept is to bring men of color (who are) student-athletes together to have a community … and cope with the environment, (while) at the same time building a collective of men,” Sheikh said. “We can provide mentorships and still have fun.”
The Men of Color Collective began last year under Daelon Floyd ’21, who formed the group with the hopes of bringing men of color on campus together to not only bond over shared experiences, but to build a unified voice in a largely white community. Sheikh hopes to continue in this vein while also widening the group’s exposure to more activities around campus.
“We don’t see a lot of men of color (who are) student-athletes involved in the school community outside of sports, so I want to push the agenda of let’s get involved more,” Sheikh said.
Sheikh has great hopes for the Collective going forward. He currently plans on organizing more activities catered to mental health, due to his strong belief that the mental health of male athletes, in general, is often ignored. According to Sheikh, male athletes need outlets to become more in-tune with their mental health in order to perform at a higher level both on and off the field.
“I held one meditation and yoga session for The Locker Room and I plan on continuing that and just focusing on our minds being able to (process) the things that go through our heads every day,” Sheikh said.
Sheikh also hopes to expand the Collective through collaborations with various other organizations on campus. He believes that it is important for the Collective to not only grow their own presence, but to also become an integral and active participant in the LC community. His work with the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) thus far has given him a positive outlook on the Collective’s future on campus.
“I was a lot more surprised with the support I was getting,” Sheikh said. “I have been working under IME, and (they) have been a lot of help, especially Joanne (Zhang), who has been working through the whole process with me.”
To learn more about future events and The Men of Color Collective, email questions to Sheikh at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow them on Instagram @ menofcolorcollective.