We are thrilled to announce the Black Celebration Series – a year-round initiative that includes in-game activities, internal employee-facing events, and social impact initiatives. Each of these components celebrates the Black experience in cycling and running as it shines a light on the accomplishments of Black athletes and lays the foundation for future advancement.
While the Black Celebration Series will launch in February during Black History Month in the US, Zwift is committed to the continual recognition and support of Black athletes. Therefore, Black Celebration Series events and initiatives are already planned throughout the coming year.
Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) team was established at the end of 2020. With Lisa Bourne at the helm, this growing team is establishing initiatives to ensure Zwift sets the standard for inclusive practices.
The DEIB team has been an instrumental partner in the development of the Black Celebration Series, in collaboration with multiple cross-functional teams internally at Zwift.
During February, Black Celebration Series events are scheduled daily (except on Sundays) and feature special guests leading rides and runs.
These guests include community leaders from Black Cyclist Network and Level Up Movement plus notable athletes like Cory Williams, Ama Nsek (both from L39ion of LA), the legendary Nelson Vails, Rahsaan Bahati, and Aisha Praught-Leer.
For a full schedule, see the Black Celebration Series event calendar.
The following partnerships and initiatives will be the center of the Black Celebration Series. Our hope is that these initiatives lay the foundation for further social impact that engages our local community.
Los Angeles Bicycle Academy Donation
Zwift is donating $25,000 to Los Angeles Bicycle Academy (LABA), a nonprofit on a mission to empower, educate, and develop leadership skills in boys and girls from communities where access to the sport of cycling is limited.
LABA includes three synergistic components:
While we are a global company, we want to be intentional about making an impact in our local communities. Zwift employee and 10x national champion Rahsaan Bahati credits organizations like this with helping to guide his own career in professional cycling.
HBCU/HSI Intern Commitment
Zwift’s first cohort of interns was a diverse and talented group representing schools all across the country. As we expand this program, we will continue holding diversity as an important pillar of the recruitment strategy.
Therefore, Zwift has committed to ensuring that 10%-20% of this summer’s intern cohort will be students who attend Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).
HBCUs and HSIs are responsible for graduating the most Black and Latinx engineers, and they are valuable talent pools for us as we seek to increase the representation of these populations on our teams.
These special events are being held for Zwift employees throughout the year. They will provide pathways to learn about Black experiences within sport, further equipping our team to be ever-mindful of inclusiveness in our work.
A Conversation with Nelson Vails
Nelson is the only Black cyclist to win an Olympic medal. He will join Zwift’s team for a conversation about his life and accomplishments as we kick off the Black Celebration Series. The team will have a behind-the-scenes look into his experience as a cycling trailblazer and inside details on some of his favorite races!
A Conversation with Erica Elle
Erica Elle is the founder of Level Up Cycling – the movement on a mission to provide access to cycling and its many benefits by reaching out to communities that have been underexposed to the sport.
Her accomplishments include creating a community of 200+ cyclists and, in her role as a UCI agent, being the catalyst for Teniel Campbell successfully signing a UCI contract. She will join our team to talk about what it means to be at the forefront of her groundbreaking movement.
California Conference for Equality and Justice – Racial Justice Training
Our Black Celebration Series would be incomplete without an opportunity for us to examine the systemic forces contributing to the underrepresentation of the Black community within cycling, as well as the broader struggle for equality.
Following the murder of George Floyd, Zwift donated $25,000 to the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) to support their work in increasing inclusion and equity in our world. As part of this donation, their organization agreed to deliver racial justice training, helping us kickstart the conversation on how to best communicate across differences.
Michael Kranish – The World’s Fastest Man
At the turn of the 20th century, Major Taylor was the first Black world champion in cycling. As a part of our Black Celebration Series, the team will participate in a company-wide reading of The World’s Fastest Man, a book celebrating the life of Major Taylor. We’ll then have the special privilege of hosting a book discussion with the author, Michael Kranish.
Big thanks to Rahsaan Bahati, who was instrumental in helping develop content for this series and making introductions to many of the people and organizations now involved!