My name is Simon Mintz, and I am a competitive ice dancer living in the Boston area. I started my tzedakah project as part of the preparation for my bar mitzvah , and continued it for several months after to further support Diversify Ice.
I was making and selling skate pendants and key chains, and the net proceeds went go to Diversify Ice. My starting goal was to raise $3,000, which helps pay for expenses, including skates, blades, costumes, coaching and ice time, for one skater. Thanks to all of you who helped me reach my original goal! I finished my project having sold $3,975 worth of skate pendants!
My goal with this website was to raise awareness about the need for more Black and brown skaters at the highest levels of figure skating. Based on my own experience, I know this is a need. I have seen very few Black skaters at my competitions and in my skating practices.
I spoke with Joel Savary, a skating coach and also the founder of Diversify Ice Foundation, and he told me why he started the organization. “We really wanted skating to be cool among people among minority backgrounds. When I started coaching and started to get people really interested in the sport, I really wanted to lower the barriers.”
He told me about the barriers that make it difficult for minority skaters to stay in the sport, which include being told that figure skating is not for Black skaters, being judged differently because of the color of their skin and their non-classical musical choices.
In his book, Why Black And Brown Kids Don’t Skate, Mr. Savary wrote about his own experiences starting skating. He was the only Black skater and was once accused of stealing his skates. “At the age of fourteen, that was my first experience understanding being an outsider because of my race and I learned it at an ice rink trying to figure skate.”
Even though I am no longer selling pendants, you can still contact me for individual orders by emailing: contact at skatependents.org
You can also support Diversify Ice by donating directly. Please continue to help me spread awareness of the lack of diversity in ice skating and many other sports. Together, we can help bring more Black and brown kids into this sport.
Thank you to Tiny Tile Mosaics and GlazeGirl Designs for donating some supplies to my project.