Every once in a while, you hear about a standout athlete, someone who in their younger years, through dedication and hard work, support from family and coaches, became a world class athlete. Often these stories overlook the layers of privilege and access amassed over the years, decades, maybe even generations, to make that life possible. On the flip side rarely are systemic oppression and historical racism considered when discussing success in sports. The immeasurable amount of untapped potential in marginalized communities isn’t even a thought. Rather, the larger narrative in athletics is that racial politics and sports do not intersect.
Trevon’s career in cycling is still in its infancy, but you would never know it with the amount of support behind him and the belief that he will succeed beyond even his greatest imagination. There is poetry knowing he got his start with the Seattle-based cycling group North Star. Both Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass looked to the North Star (Polaris) to realize their journey to freedom, and the name has become synonymous with Black liberation. Tubman and Douglass were visionaries whose mission was never in service to oneself, but to their people and the generations to come. They were the vessels through which self-determination was made manifest. North Star’s mission is grounded with the same intention: to liberate melanated folks on bikes.
In the summer of 2020 just as students were heading into their first full semester of virtual learning, Trevon worked with AAMA to prepare for the unknown. He spent hours on calls with directors of math, science, and English to discuss ways to make school more fun and welcoming for Black males. He also hosted back to school events to gauge the needs of returning students. Most significantly he concerned himself with the mental health needs of Black students and their extended families.
When asked to describe himself as a child he was quick to reply, he was “very outspoken, passionate, and humble”. He’s always wanted to be a steward of his community because he felt his own experiences had given him insight.
This knowledge and awareness have matured Trevon over the years, developing into both a keen empathy for others and a determination to realize his own liberation in a country that seeks to squash the dynamism of young Black men. Cleveland High is a predominantly Asian and Black school but is beginning to mirror the mostly white population of Seattle because of gentrification. As a young Black man in Seattle public schools, Trevon noticed a recent shift in the power dynamics between students and teachers. Prior to the murder of George Floyd and the great awakening of racial injustice in this country, he witnessed Black students suffering far harsher punishments than non-Black students. This is something that he has addressed in AAMA and worked to change in the classroom, and he has seen results.
Story by Guarina Lopez. Photos by Edwin Lindo
Trevon Mitchell can be found on Instagram @fastestintown