In a collaboration to pursue change in communities of color and develop meaningful programs, the 11 professional sports organizations in greater Los Angeles have joined together to launch The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles, a comprehensive five-year commitment to drive investment and impact for social justice through sport.
Following the recent protests nationwide, the 11 teams have united to address racial injustice, develop educational opportunities, and support other important issues facing communities of color, particularly Black communities. The 11 teams will advocate for social justice, address disparities and take actions to help end racial inequality. This commitment includes supporting the Play Equity Fund's social justice movement in communities across greater Los Angeles, and in Orange County amplifying the work of Accelerate Change Together (ACT) Anaheim. These innovative cooperative response models of engagement are aimed to inspire similar actions nationally.
The 11 professional sports teams that form The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles include the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Chargers, LA Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Football Club, LA Galaxy, LA Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Sparks. The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles was formed in addition to the robust efforts of the teams' community affairs departments and foundations, which will continue their charitable activities across the region.
"The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles has been forged specifically to create positive change in underserved communities, with an emphasis on Black communities," said a spokesperson for The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles. "All 11 teams are united in their dedication to this effort and recognize driving change is a long-term commitment. Through sports and social programming, we aim to work in communities to affect structural changes on levels that have a lasting impact."
The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles is partnering with the Play Equity Fund to manage this initiative in greater Los Angeles. A 501(c)3 public charity, the Play Equity Fund was established in Los Angeles to drive social change across communities through sport. It is the only nonprofit worldwide dedicated to Play Equity as a social justice issue to bring the transformative power of sport and structured play to youth – regardless of their race, socioeconomic status or gender – who have been left behind by the current system.
The Orange County-based franchises will expand upon their established partnership of investing in organizations and programs making positive change. Formed in 2013 by the Ducks, Angels and Disneyland Resort, the Accelerate Change Together (ACT) Anaheim collaborative was created to address the urgent needs of Anaheim's at-risk youth and families.
"The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles is an unprecedented collaboration by sports organizations recognizing the impact they can have by working together, and they should be commended for seeking to make significant changes in communities of color," said Renata Simril, President of the Play Equity Fund. "The Los Angeles region is one of the world's most competitive markets, and sports is one of the world's most competitive industries. But these organizations are putting their competitive instincts aside to work collaboratively for social justice."
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.