Howard University,

Tori Bowie tragedy highlights issue Howard basketball program champions

Tori Bowie’s death provided tragic awareness of an issue that Howard University head coach Kenny Blakeney and his team are focused on.

The sports world was rocked by the news about the untimely death of track and field superstar Tori Bowie earlier this year. It was revealed that the 32-year old died due to complications during childbirth.

That issue hit particularly hard for Kenneth Blakeney, head coach of the Howard University men’s basketball squad. Blakeney and his squad, which claims the MEAC basketball title back in March, announced earlier this year that it would be taking up Black Maternal health issues as an issue beyond the basketball court to focus on.

Tori Bowie

Blakeney published an open letter on Friday, addressing the death of Tori Bowie and the importance of his team’s focus. 

“Dear Bison,

This week has been incredibly tough for me personally. On Monday, the news came out that olympian tori bowie’s death was due to the complications of childbirth.

All season long, our program has engaged in a social justice project centered on black maternal health advocacy. As a 51 year old black man I had never really delved deeply into the black maternal health crisis in this country until our players decided to advocate on this issue. Moments like Monday are sobering reminders that black women, even those in peak physical shape, still face a daunting challenge when becoming pregnant as they are 3x more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications.

Pregnancy and bringing life into this world should be a moment of pure happiness, but for many black women it is an experience rife with fear and uncertainty. I challenge my male colleagues in sports to stand alongside black women in amplifying this issue in hopes of creating positive change moving forward.

Tori Bowie tragedy highlights issue Howard basketball program champions
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