Chicago Soccer For Justice
Northwestern graduate student Claudia Garcia-Rojas joined Chicago Soccer for Justice (CSFJ) to be part of a soccer community that worked to create a space that welcomed all bodies and challenge oppressive dynamics in sports. Garcia-Rojas, who is also the co-director of the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women, says the group was a “primarily people of color-centered group of activists and organizers that met regularly to cultivate community and a culture of resistance by playing the world’s game: fútbol.”
“I think sports reflect the broader social interplay between theory and practice,” Garcia-Rojas said. “Sports reflect how we put into practice our most valued theories of justice, liberty and even love.”
Society’s most oppressive behaviors and toxic rhetoric are often amplified at athletic events. Garcia-Rojas says fans and athletes can disrupt that tradition, using stadiums and pitches as platforms to engage in different forms of activism, including showing solidarity with movements for justice.
“[Athletes] can leverage their power – by kneeling or speaking out or suspending activities – to draw national attention to issues we otherwise would not be talking about,” she said. “They can help illuminate the shared oppressive practices and politics that exist across different social institutions.”