The Los Angeles Lakers and ten other professional franchises in the LA and Orange County areas are joining together in an organization called the Alliance, in an effort “to utilize sports for social justice” according to a press release sent out on Tuesday.
The other franchises joining the Lakers include the Ducks, Angels, Chargers, Clippers, Dodgers, LAFC, Galaxy, Kings, Rams and Sparks.
The press release states the objective of The Alliance as pursuing “change in communities of color and [developing] meaningful programs” in a five-year commitment to “drive investment and impact for social justice through sport.”
The organization is clearly a response to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice sparking from the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the broader Black Lives Matter movement. Lakers star LeBron James has often been a leading voice in the sports community fighting for social equity while players such as JaVale McGee and Danny Green participated in protests in the past month.
The 11 professional teams are partnering with organizations already helping underserved, and predominately Black, communities such as the Play Equity Fund, a non-profit LA-based charity aiming to provide equal opportunities for sport in communities often left behind.
More from the issued statement:
The term social justice can be broadly defined as the degree of fairness or justice in the opportunities and access to resources, wealth, political representation, and privileges within a given society. In neighborhoods with high poverty rates, opportunities to play – a globally recognized fundamental human right of childhood – oftentimes do not exist, particularly for kids of color.
Barriers include the elimination or reduction of enrichment of programs, budget challenges for afterschool programs including sports, safe passage to playgrounds, transportation, lack of trained and well-paid coaches and the rising costs of athletics and intramural programs. These factors severely limit access and opportunities for kids of color to build a pathway to lifelong wellbeing. The pro teams of the ALLIANCE: Los Angeles are united in their determination to combat this injustice.
The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles and the Play Equity Fund will hold a Sports for Social Justice Symposium on July 22, to coincide with National Youth Sports Week, which is July 20-24. This webinar will include leaders from the sports organizations, as well as social justice leaders and sports commentators.
This is a commendable effort from the Lakers as well as their neighboring franchises in joining the continual fight for social justice and equality.