SportsBall Honorees Beverly Bond and Mike Woods talk supporting survivors and using your voice to fight social injustice

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health’s annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala continues to successfully cultivate a magical night, which honors and celebrates the legacy of Arthur Ashe, along with recognizing leaders in their respective fields.

During the red carpet for the 24th Annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala theGrio caught up with honoree, Black Girl’s Rock founder, author and celebrity DJ, Beverly Bond and she weighed in on the importance of supporting and creating safe spaces for #metoo survivors.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

“I think that for a long time, unfortunately, we ignored the voices of women,” says Bond. “It’s 10x more in the Black community or maybe even 50x more but feel like while we are watching this whole movement unfold… While we watch women come into the forefront and finally be able to tell what’s happening, I think its important that we continue to support these women and we have to be clear that we can be a fan of someone but if they do something that is harmful to women, girls and boys, that we can divide that line.”

“I think that we are starting to do that but we need to continuously do that because there is a lot of trauma. There is a lot of children that are being harmed and we really need to talk about it so we can change it.”

Fox 5 meteorologist and honoree, Mike Woods, shared why everyone should follow suit and use their voice to speak on injustices.

“I think everybody should have a voice, that’s a part of [our] rights,” says the meteorologist. So, for folks who get out there and speak their mind about issues in whatever way is possible or whichever way they please, that’s their right and the benefit.”

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

“I’ve had to use my voice in certain situations,” Woods continues.” And I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me not to use my voice because for what it’s worth, some of us have a voice and are in positions where people actually respond, they listen and hear you. You should use that to your benefit in hoping that whatever the use of your voice is, whatever you want to get across does touch the people.”

The Arthur Ashe Institute has continued to stay true to Ashe’s legacy and mission. Providing tools and resources in the black community to help people make informed health decisions, along with community outreach to educate and promote healthy living.

Brett Wright, chairperson of Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and founder/ CEO of Uptown Media Ventures has worked with the institution for 10 years and became chairperson about four years ago. Wright says the institute is making a great impact on young kids.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

“I’ve seen lots of changes,” says Wright. “I think its really the opportunity to be exposed to things in health and science. Its important that young kids in urban areas are exposed at an early age to what opportunities in health care can look like and we are in particular challenged communities so it’s amazing to have a program like this that can facilitate the key learning at the right time.”

Chief Executive Officer at the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Dr. Marilyn Fraser –who’s been with the institution for over 17 years– shared her thoughts on Ashe’s legacy.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

“I think Arthur left a wonderful legacy. He believed in the health profession; he believed in training the next generation of health professions and I think we’re living up to that in realizing his legacy. The institute has a big part of that legacy and we’re hoping to continue that.”

Co-host of the 2018 Sportsball, NBC news anchor, Craig Melvin adds:

“Long before activism and sports were so intertwined– Arthur Ashe stood for something. And even in his battle with AIDS, [when] it became apparent to him and his family that he was going to lose that battle, he [still] started this [institute] and it’s something to be said for that.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

“It’s been around for 25 years and the mission is to [help] people that look like me and you… I’m going to support that.”

Photo Credit: Mark D. Phillips

The annual Sportsball honors individuals and organizations making significant contributions to urban communities in the areas of health, education, medical research, community service, and philanthropy.

For additional information about SportsBall 2018 and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, go to