Black Lives Matter Golf Nova Scotia was started as a way to introduce BIPOC youth to a new sport while raising social justice issues and educating youth about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Historically (golf) has been underrepresented by BIPOC, it’s been historically white,” said Doug Hill, a committee member with Black Lives Matter Golf Nova Scotia.
“It’s not just about golf, we have a bit of an educational component to it as well,” said Hill. “We’re looking forward to bringing awareness to the program and the issues.”
The junior mentorship program started in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who was declared dead on May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes while he was on the ground, handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe.
Hill, who is a member at the Grandview Golf and Country Club in the historically Black community of East Preston, said he and other Black golf members wanted to use the game as a platform to not only introduce youth to the sport but also to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and show the youth they belong in any game.
The majority of the 20 youth enrolled in the free golf program have never swung a golf club before, but throughout the mentorship program, they will gain the skills necessary to play in a tournament later this summer.
Mauricio Hinds just turned 16-years-old, but the six-foot-five-inch teenager is already getting attention from schools south of the border for his football skills.
Hinds was eager to try golf and said he’ll jump at any opportunity to try a new sport.
“I tend to stick to the sports like basketball and football, the more African American, African Canadian sports,” said Hinds.
“I am thankful for an opportunity to play golf, and to get the chance to come out here and learn with people that maybe look like me and come from the same place as me, it’s just a great opportunity to have.”
A group of African Nova Scotian youth were introduced to the game of golf today. They also spoke about race & the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s part of a new youth mentorship program called Black Lives Matter Golf Nova Scotia. Tune into @globalhalifax at 6 for more pic.twitter.com/geNftfk9H1
— Jesse Thomas (@jessethomas21) April 10, 2021
The youth mentorship program has partnered with Golf Nova Scotia and on day one, the youth who range in age from 12 to 18 are given an intro to the basics of the sport, from putting to chipping and driving the ball, while also having conversations about race and society.
“Black athletes are now bringing great awareness using their sport,” said Hill. “Whether it’s basketball or football or whatever their sport is to bring awareness to the social consciousness regarding Black Lives Matter.”
These junior golfers will continue to practice their skills indoors at the BMO Soccer facility and eventually they’ll get on the course and play. Hill says some may stick with the sport and some may not, but for the BLM Golf committee, it’s more than that just the sport they hope the youth take interest in.
“My dad wanted me to get involved because we noticed there’s not a lot of people in the community that are interested in golf, there’s not many people like us playing,” said Isla David, who plays soccer and football and is swinging a golf club for the first time.
The BLM Golf committee hopes to create a scholarship fund to help BIPOC youth access post-secondary education.