Gary Axelbank, thisistheBronX Publisher and host of BronxTalk and the Bronx Buzz on BronxNet, received a “Glass Ceiling Breaker” award from the Black Women In Sports Foundation (BWSF) on Monday evening prior to the game at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. The event was part of the Phillies Jackie Robinson Night Festivities.
“Gary’s being honored because he produced our Amazing Grace: Black Women in Sport video which will be an historical document forever,” said Prof. Tina Sloan Green, BWSF President and Professor Emeritus in the College of Educaton at Temple University. “We’re so grateful to him. It’s been a great teaching tool for so many.”
Produced in 1995, the video was narrated by Robin Roberts and chronicles the history of African-American women who were pioneers in sport, like Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Joyner Kersey, Debbie Thomas, and many others.
Established in 1992, the BWSF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the involvement of black women and girls in all aspects of sport, including athletics, coaching, and administration. They enroll girls and boys in the programs conducted throughout the city of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. It facilitates the involvement of women of color in every aspect of sport in the United States and around the world, through “hands-on” development and management of grass roots level outreach programs.
“The work of the Black Women in Sport Foundation is vital, especially in this day and age,” Axelbank said. “Young people deserve the opportunities that athletics can provide and the people at the BWSF understand this needs to be established as early as possible in a person’s life. Their commitment is unparalleled and it’s a model of advocacy that I follow in my daily work in Bronx media. I am overwhelmed to be recognized by such great people who are empowering young women to be all they can be.”
BWSF Vice President Dr. Alpha Alexander, Chair of the Morristown Task Force on Diversity and former adminstrator with the Women’s Sports Foundation, YWCA, US Olympic Committe, and Arthur Ashe Foundation, was also honored at the event. She, too, had the notion of empowerment on her mind.
“Where are the women coaches in women’s basketball?” she asked rhetorically. “What about Augusta? Why aren’t the women allowed to play there? As the tenor of the country is right now there are some serious issues and the BWSF has to have a place around the table to voice them.”
The evening’s other award recipients were Lynnore Lawton Thames, Esq., the Director of Business Affairs at ABC News; Philadelphia Phillies Director of Group Sales Vanessa Mapson, M.Ed; and Coordinator of Athletics at the Community College of Philadelpia, Lynsey Jae Grace.
After the BWSF ceremony all attendees sat in the cold (as long as they could!) to watch the Mets beat the hometown Phillies 7-6 in 11 innings.