first published in the September 2020 Equiery
This past July, Nation Media (Eventing Nation, Jumper Nation and Horse Nation) announced the winners of its 1st Annual $5,000 Diversity Scholarship. The mission of the program is to “call for, encourage, elevate and give a platform to minority voices in a space where they are underrepresented” according to Nation Media’s July 31 post on eventingnation.com.
Eventing Nation’s Editor-in-Chief, Leslie Wylie, recently stated, “The Diversity Scholarship was really a spontaneous, seat-of-the-pants endeavor. We were so excited to see the equestrian world engage with the Black Lives Matter movement, with some really progressive discourse emerging about how to make the horse world a more diverse and inclusive space.”
Wylie explained that she was a panelist on the 2019 Tom Bass Seminar at Tryon International Equestrian Center, which was the first ever seminar dedicated to the subject of diversity in equestrian sports. She said that two things really jumped out to her at the seminar. “First, and this seems obvious but I think sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle, is the importance of just shutting up and listening to what minority voices have to say,” she said. Wylie feels, “we need to stop talking over minority voices and give them the microphone instead.”
Secondly, Wylie realized that although conversations were a great place to start, these words were “only as good as our ability to take them out into the world and make them actionable.” Thus, Nation Media started the idea of a Diversity Scholarship and first announced the “1st Annual $1,000 Diversity Scholarship” on June 26.
Support for the scholarship took off and more and more people began pledging funds to the scholarship. With the help of generous donations from Stable View, Katherine Coleman and Hannah Hawkins, Nation Media was able to offer $5400 worth of scholarship funds for 2020.
This year’s scholarship program received 27 submissions representing a broad spectrum of gender, racial, ethnic, sexual and class identities. The program’s scholarship winners cross many equine disciplines as well, including eventing, hunters, jumpers, dressage, polo and western. “In lieu of declaring a winner we have expanded the fund to award each applicant $200,” Nation Media stated on July 31.
Since announcing this year’s winners, Eventing Nation has begun publishing essays from each rider every day on their website. In addition, at the end of each essay, EN posts a “Get Involved” section with resources and ideas for readers to be able to take action. The online essays keep the conversation going and help people take action. “Our response from readers to the essays has been really encouraging,” Wylie said, “Just comment after comment of positivity and encouragement for the essay writers.”
Nation Media intends to continue the scholarship on an annual basis.
Below is a list of the 2020 Diversity Scholarship winners. You can read each winner’s essay on eventingnation.com.
• Caden Barrera (Minneapolis)
• Dana Bivens (Oregon)
• Madison Buening (Wisconsin)
• Helen Casteel (Silver Spring, MD)
• Anastasia Curwood (Kentucky)
• Dawn Edgerton-Cameron (Annapolis, MD)
• Morgan Fenrick (North Carolina)
• Christopher Ferralez (Illinois)
• Jordyn Hale (Delaware)
• Malachi Hinton (Virginia)
• Leilani Jackson (California)
• Lea Jih-Vieria (New York by way of Middletown, MD)
• Kimberly Kojima (Germany)
• Aki Joy Maruyama (Georgia/Belgium)
• Mitike Mathews (Canada)
• Briannah McGee (California)
• Muhammad Rehman (Florida/Pakistan)
• Deonte Sewell (Virginina)
• Katarina Stovall (Texas)
• Jen Spencer (Canada)
• Scnobia Stewart (North Carolina)
• Katherine Un (Washington)
• Julie Upshur (Tennessee)
• Lyssette Williams (California)
• Christine Wilson (New York)