Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion is integral to USTA Colorado's mission of promoting and developing the growth of tennis, and we are committed to providing opportunities for all, regardless of skin color, socio-economic status, sexual preference or physical and mental challenges.


Attracting, engaging and retaining a new generation of diverse tennis participants is a key to our future relevance as a sport and our ongoing success as a governing body. At USTA Colorado, we celebrate the open format – the idea that anyone from anywhere should be able to play and compete. That’s the driving force behind our Diversity & Inclusion strategy, designed to grow and promote our sport to the next generation – and future generations – of fans, players and volunteers.

Skip Advertisement


Breaking the Barriers

Creating awareness through exposure, inspiring action through art

Inspired by the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Breaking the Barriers exhibit, USTA Colorado has created our own showcase with the successful four-part portrait series. 


Using tennis as a backdrop to promote diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and excellence, USTA Colorado's Breaking the Barriers is a high profile, high impact and sustainable educational and outreach program celebrating the accomplishments of diverse tennis pioneers, contributors and rising stars in Colorado. 

Exhibition in Courage logo
Chapter One: An Exhibition in Courage/2011

The 2011 USTA Colorado Breaking the Barriers: An Exhibition in Courage exhibit, featured an historical timeline of African-Americans in tennis, dating from the 1800s to Arthur Ashe’s historical Wimbledon win in 1975. 

The exhibit was enhanced through several ancillary programs, including school outreach with guided tours, an oral history lecture series, a portrait series of local tennis pioneers, and USTA Colorado's original documentary short, Crossing the Net: Denver City Park & The Black Tennis Experience.

For many, it was an opportunity to connect with the great tennis champions of the past, and to learn about the history of black players in Colorado.


An Exhibition in Courage was the first of four exhibits from USTA Colorado and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Bear Gutierrez, whose innovate portraits showcased Colorado’s African-American tennis pioneers, including players, coaches and officials.


It was prominently displayed at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, which is located in Denver’s historical Five Points neighborhood. Blair-Caldwell is one of only five such libraries across the country, serving the Denver community as a branch of the Denver Public Library system. Blair-Caldwell is committed to bringing unique and memorable exhibits focusing on the history of African-Americans in Denver and the American West. 

Chapter Two: The Asian Connection/2014

As a follow up to the highly successful 2011 Breaking the Barriers exhibit honoring African-American achievements in tennis, USTA Colorado returned with Breaking the Barriers 2.0 celebrating local Asian Pacific American tennis pioneers, contributors and rising stars in honor of Asian Heritage Month. 


The Asian Connection Portrait Series is tennis art in motion. To play tennis, there is technique, form and skill, which is a form of art in itself. Former photojournalist and Pulitzer prize-winning local photographer Bear Gutierrez debuted a collection of portraits as a visual journey, inspired by the elements — fire, water, air and earth — with tennis players performing magical feats.


The Breaking the Barriers 2.0: Asian Connection Portrait Series enjoyed a five-week run at Denver International Airport's Jeppesen Terminal. The exhibit was launched with a traditional Lion Dance, performed by Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Association.


The Breaking the Barriers message provides an opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion, and at the same time brings together communities in a non-traditional way to discuss race and equality.  

Chapter Three: ¡Vive el Tenis!/2014

To complement an older national traveling exhibit, called ¡Vive El Tenis!: Common Threads Different Peoples, created in 2006 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame located in Rhode Island, USTA Colorado created a local project — ¡Vive el Tenis! — devoted to showcasing Hispanic players, contributors, coaches and pioneers from Colorado.


The national exhibit explores how tennis has evolved from its European roots to become a sport enjoyed by cultures across the globe, in particular, examining the links between US tennis and tennis practiced in Hispanic-populated regions like South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.


Through its intimate approach, the USTA Colorado project which operates on a micro level by featuring active local “history-makers” that fellow Colorado residents can recognize, the Hall of Fame exhibit applies a wider lens to the racial theme, featuring retired champions along with tennis stars from past eras. 


The Hall of Fame's traveling exhibit was on loan to USTA Colorado during September 2014, and appeared alongside the ¡Vive el Tenis! Portrait Series at the Webb Municipal Building Atrium.

Chapter Four: Rise to the Possible/2019

Inspired by the vision, dedication and legacy of Vicky Matarazzo, long-time USTA Colorado volunteer and Volunteer Tennis Director for Special Olympics Colorado, USTA Colorado introduced the fourth installment of the critically acclaimed Breaking the Barriers portrait series, Rise to the Possible, celebrating adaptive tennis pioneers, contributors and rising stars in Colorado. 


Rise to the Possible speaks to the passion and motivation of tennis players, their families and coaches to achieve the best in the sport and life. 


"We all have something to offer and an obligation to use what we have to make this world a better place. Tennis can be an incredible vehicle to connect with those who are facing adversity and let them know they are valuable and are capable of more than they may think. On the tennis court or off, how can you make a difference? Coach, play, coordinate, encourage? Join the movement and the life you end up changing may just be yours."

Skip Advertisement


Related Articles