UWindsor alumnus to lead Raptors efforts in creating social change

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Although The Toronto Raptors aren’t cradling the Larry O’Brien trophy back to the “North” this year, they’re battle to become champions off the court is just beginning.

The Toronto Raptors have hired University of Windsor grad, John Wiggins, as the organization’s Vice-President of Organizational Culture and Inclusion.

“It’s the new approach from the Raptors. We’re taking a look into our equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, starting internally,” says Wiggins.

The newly created position is a part of the Raptor’s ongoing commitment to create meaningful social change both within its organization and community, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Whether it’s scouting players, the way we hire, community initiatives that we take or even just the feeling we give people when they work in our environment,” says Wiggins. “We first look at our house and say we want to make sure we are kind of a racial friendly organization.”

“We want to effect change on a global scale, and that has to begin at home,” says Raptors President Masai Ujiri in a press release.

Prior to this move, Wiggins helped launched the Raptor’s 905 NBA G-League franchise and the Windsor Express team of the National Basketball League of Canada. He also worked in leadership positions at the Ford Motor company.

“I always found myself in leadership roles in whatever part time jobs I was working at the time such as the YMCA in Windsor at the camps or when I got into intramurals at the St. Denis Centre,” Wiggins recalls.

Wiggins never imagined he would one day become teammates with the Raptors, but looking back on his roots, he feels prepared to embrace this new opportunity.

“We threw a party last year where three million people showed up. I think using that influence and that platform and that outreach across Canada will help us go a long way.”

One his first tasks on hand is assembling a community advisory board with cultural and diversity leaders and activists.

“We want to speak with those people to find out how we can engage to help, and not have to re-invent the wheel but simply just to help promote and amplify the messages that they have. 2021 looks like it’s going to be a year of change and I’m really happy to wake up every morning and be a part of that.”