Athletes, Ethnicity, & the Gospel

Join former Division I athletes for a candid conversation and Q&A session. Learn how to embrace your ethnic identity and influence as an athlete to share and live out the gospel.


Perez means “break through,” and Orlando Perez has chosen to walk in his identity as a man who chooses to break through barriers set before him.  As he grew up, Orlando saw three generations of his family incarcerated for selling drugs. But through his mother’s prayers, he was able to break through these cycles and was the first in his family to go to college. At the University of Rhode Island, he began a Bible study for his football teammates. It spread to impact the rest of his college’s athletic community, and in 2008, an Athletes InterVarsity chapter was started. Since college, Orlando has worked to help break the cycle of the school-prison pipeline. 

Paul Tokunaga founded MELD (Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development) with the mission to “equip collegiate coaches and student athletes to thrive in our racially diverse world.” He is also a veteran InterVarsity/USA staff, currently serving as Executive Coach and Senior Consultant.
Paul is a coauthor of two multiethnic leadership books, as well as the author of Invitation to Lead. He is the lead creator of two 15-month intensive leadership programs to prepare potential senior leaders, InterVarsity/USA’s Daniel Project and the Prospective Senior Leaders Cohort. Paul also was lead creator for InterVarsity/USA’s Managing and Leading Ethnic Diversity course. 

Shaylen Hardy’s life was deeply impacted by Urbana 06, and she hopes that God will meet Urbana 18 participants in the same way.

Shaylen is passionate about planting ministries for unreached and underserved student populations. Over her 10 years of ministry on Michigan campuses, she was the key BCM staff person in expanding BCM student participation from around 200 to well over 600. She went on a Global Program to China during her last summer of college and led the Bolivia Global Program in 2014. She is a licensed minister at Tabernacle of David Church.

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