Hello, my name is Madison Dawkins, and I played soccer at the University of Pennsylvania.
During my senior year of high school, I had an experience where one of my white classmates accused me of fabricating my commitment to Penn. She told me that I didn’t deserve to play at a program of that caliber.
The whole experience was extremely demoralizing and discouraging, and it all happened around singing day. So at a time that should be the most celebrated of my life, I spent it defending my commitment to that program.
While at Penn, I noticed a common perception that black athletes only belonged there due to their athletic ability. That perception was extremely hard, and it took a toll on my mental health, and I found myself doing more and more to distinguish myself as more than just an athlete.
In the NCAA, there are around 1300 black women soccer players, versus 2000 white women soccer players. Growing up, there weren’t a lot of players that looked like me, and it was hard to assimilate into teams, and find respect on that human level.
I stand with black athletes, and I stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.