“Skateboarding gave us the space to want to be together… to unite in our marginalization.”
Dr. Neftalie Williams’ words have stuck with us, as they have with so many of the attendees and speakers at The Goodpush Summit this year. Why? They capture a moment, a feeling many of us share, both in and out of the social skateboarding movement. They remind us that in our differences we are unified, and that it is through coming together in spaces which encourage conversation that we create the connections which keep us together through the tough times, when so much seems to keep us apart.
2021’s Goodpush Summit was such a space. A digital hub, where the people from a diverse range of communities and projects came together to share ideas. We saw discussions on race, gender, mental-health, ability, as well as panels and workshops on the past, present and future of this ever growing social skate sphere.
“Neftalie captured a lot in that one short quote,” explains Rhianon Bader of The Goodpush Alliance. “Collaboration, inclusion, diversity – the rise of the non-traditional skateboarder. These ideas came up again and again, whether we were talking about adaptive skateboarding, challenging racist power structures, queer-friendly skate spaces, or how to measure the impact we’re having.”
As a network and resource platform for the social skate projects, The Goodpush Alliance – a spin-off of award-winning organization Skateistan – has one of the best overviews of the sector. So how do they see the evolution of social skateboarding since the Summit?
“It’s clear that social skateboarding is going to continue to make skating more welcoming and inclusive for everybody –– but especially those people who have historically been excluded either intentionally or unintentionally… Another clear trend is more and more open-sourcing of knowledge. Building toolkits, resources, and partnerships will make all of our work better.”
Already we are seeing clear responses to these trends, and things are moving faster than ever. Skateistan is getting ready to launch a new e-learning platform in October which offers interactive e-courses on the likes of mental health and mindfulness for youth, child protection, trauma-informed skateboarding programs, and creative education. This will be available to any social skate project, with a view to sharing expertise with all who need it.
Meanwhile, we at THE SKATEROOM are working to commit more unrestricted funding to our partners, so they can continue to grow and empower their communities with the work they do. Want to find out more? Of course you do. You can watch the ‘Future of Social Skateboarding’ panel that our founder, Charles-Antoine spoke on, and all the rest of the talks right here.
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