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New exhibit on the power of sports to ENSPIRE social change

Breaking Barriers debuted at the ESPYS and Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards in Los Angeles in July. ESPN plans to bring the exhibit to major sporting events, museums and colleges across the country.

(Barry Richards/Rockwell Group)
(Barry Richards/Rockwell Group)

When LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony took the stage at the ESPYS to address the recent violence across the country, we were reminded of the powerful voice that athletes have to raise awareness of critical issues. However, this is was just one iconic moment in long history of athletes using the power of sports for social change.

Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Billie Jean King and many others have paved the way by using their platform to fight for what they believe in.

To honor these athletes and to enhance the dialogue around this important topic, ESPN Corporate Citizenship has worked with the Center for Civil and Human Rights to create a traveling exhibit that showcases the history of civil and human rights in sports through stories of athletes past and present. Coined “Breaking Barriers: Sports for Change,” the exhibit explores how sports has influenced issues from racism to immigration to equal rights for women, people with disabilities and LGBT athletes.

“Throughout history, we’ve seen that when athletes use the common language of sports they can open doors, challenge biases and help to ensure fair treatment for all,” said ESPN Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Christine Driessen. “This timely exhibit is a comprehensive approach to telling the story of these extraordinary agents of change. I hope all of our employees have a chance to stop by and view Breaking Barriers.”

Tony-award winners George C. Wolfe (playwright) and David Rockwell (architect), both of whom designed the Center for Civil and Human Rights, led the compelling storytelling and design.

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