Statement From Erica Vanstone, WFTDA Chief Media Officer

November 5, 2017

I wanted to take a moment today to apologize for a callous and insensitive comment I made on last night’s broadcast that devalued the devastation our indigenous community have endured and still endure in Turtle Island (America), and frankly, worldwide. I apologize, and we’ve removed the comment from the broadcast archive to prevent further harm. I appreciate the colleagues I have in our derby community who are willing to call me out when I say something insensitive or inappropriate and who care about me enough to tell me that I have hurt them deeply. I am truly sorry and I can do better.

Roller derby is a place that needs to be inclusive, and last night was one of those moments when I saw the white privilege I live with everyday firsthand. As a cis, white woman in America, I am still learning where my privilege exists, and it’s important that when I have those moments, that I can share them with everyone, in hopes that others can grow, too.

I believe it’s important for us to hold each other accountable to the values that we stand for in roller derby--being strong, kind, loving, and inclusive--and that includes me as a part of the WFTDA leadership. An organization is only as revolutionary as its leadership’s ability to take responsibility for mistakes, and I certainly do that now. I hope I can set an example for having others in our community take ownership, too.

It is not the responsibility of anyone in community to teach me what I’m doing wrong, but it’s my responsibility to correct it and help protect this community. I feel fortunate to have a platform here to help open a dialogue to embrace and discuss issues around white privilege. Roller derby needs to be a place where all feel welcome. If we can’t openly discuss mistakes and consequences--hurt and mistrust--in roller derby, then we are not doing our jobs to make this sport as inclusive as possible. Thank you to those of you who have reached out to me directly for an apology. I am truly sorry. Please always let me know where I can support you better, be a better ally, and work hard to earn back your trust when I have let you down.

See the video statement from Erica below.

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.