It's clear to Sandra Douglass Morgan that while she's the first Black woman to serve as a team president for an NFL franchise, she won't be the last.
That was her driving force that came across as she spoke to young scholars from Democracy Preparatory Academy on Friday morning during the "Blazing Trails" panel event, hosted by the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium Management (ASM) in recognition of Black History Month.
The panelists, moderated by "Raiders: Talk of the Nation" host Sibley Scoles, included players Jalen Elliott and Brandon Parker, who shared the trials and tribulations of being an NFL player and young African-American men with the scholars in attendance. The range of topics the panel emphasized to the students extended from prioritizing mental health, financial literacy, leadership and Black history within the Raiders organization and the city of Las Vegas.
"It's so important that we know our history and talk about our history so know where we came from," said Team President Sandra Douglass Morgan. "I think that gives us a better sense of self as to know where we want to go. Not only where we want to go as individuals, but as a community and definitely, as the Raiders."
The young students asked tough questions that provided thought-provoking answers. Douglass Morgan detailed her journey of breaking down racial barriers in Las Vegas as an attorney and gaming commissioner, while Elliot and Parker recapped their uphill battles to getting back on the field after dealing with injuries.
"Just talking to some of the kids after the event, the questions they had and the mentality they have – it's locked in," said Parker, offensive tackle and HBCU graduate. "It's just good for them to see and interact with people that were able to take time and step down to their level and say, 'Hey man, I was where you are.' I looked up to people to get where I was and now I am where I am now."
Douglass Morgan recognizes that she has an obligation not just to the Raiders, but to the community she was raised in. Which is why opportunities such as this one are at the forefront of her mind, as she hopes to provide resources for the next generation.
"Being the first is not success, in my opinion. It's making sure I'm not the last," said Douglass Morgan. "Being visible and being able to see these young women and these young men – I'm so inspired by one of the comments of that one of the high schoolers made about having another Black president. And he specifically said 'he or she' could have that opportunity. Having this young generation understand the importance of inclusion and making sure everyone has the opportunity to have a seat at the table is so inspiring.
"I know I was here today to speak to the kids, but they really fulfilled myself and Jalen and Brandon just as much as what they got from us."
The Las Vegas Raiders host staff and students from Democracy Preparatory Academy at Agassi Campus at Allegiant Stadium to speak about being trailblazers of diversity in sports.