Connecticut in Color: Graduating Student-Athlete Advocates for Social Justice

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As schools across the country celebrate graduation, one of Quinnipiac University's class of 2022 student-athletes is being celebrated for making an impact in her sport and in the campus community.

Asia Johnson was just recognized by the university with the Emmanuel Laboy Social Justice Advocate award for her work making sure student-athletes are helping to make our world, a better, more understanding and inclusive place.

As a leader on the student-athlete advisory committee, the New Britain native saw opportunity to get her fellow athletes talking about issues that might get lost in their athletic pursuits - launching a discussion series to get the campus comfortable with the uncomfortable.

“We wanted to make sure everyone felt really included. We did one topic about race and how race comes in different forms, what privilege meant, what light skin privilege was, what privilege was as a white woman, what privilege is as a white man, what privilege is as a Black man and truly finding what the connections could be," Johnson said.

Asia Johnson

Giving everyone the opportunity to feel comfortable in a space, especially college, where you’re trying to find who you are and develop in your character - I felt like it was really important for everyone’s voices to be heard,” he continued.

Those conversations led to the first ever Equity Week on campus and a new awareness on campus. Johnson's coach, Mary Ann Powers, said she’s been watching Johnson since her Pop Warner days and she’s always been a leader.  She’s confident her athlete will leave a mark on the world.

“Everyone will come up to me and say 'Who’s number 30?' It happens all the time and number 30 is Asia Johnson. It was always uplifting and I think that is one of the beautiful things about her, she just knew how to open those doors,” Powers said.

And Johnson's time as part of the Quinnipiac community isn’t over just yet. She’ll spend the next year pursuing MBA.

When she’s done with school, she intends to pursue a career in sports marketing.

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