LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California's professional sports teams compete for advertising dollars and attention from fans but the 11 organizations are joining forces for a new social justice initiative.
The franchises announced Tuesday that they are launching The Alliance: Los Angeles. The five-year partnership's main emphasis will be to provide more resources for underserved Black children. It also aims to address racial injustice while developing educational programs.
Los Angeles Football Club president and co-owner Tom Penn said the first meeting was held May 31, less than a week after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis. The death of Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police sparked demonstrations in cities across the globe, including Los Angeles.
“Everyone co-signed that we would try to bring some good out of the situation. If not sports, then who?” Penn said. “We expect this program to be a beacon and magnet for others.”
The Alliance — which also includes the Angels, Chargers, Clippers, Dodgers, Ducks, Kings, Galaxy, Lakers, Rams and Sparks — will work closely with Los Angeles' Play Equity Fund and Accelerate Change Together (ACT) Anaheim.
Renata Simril, the president of the Play Equity Fund, said the program's progress will be measured by tracking high school graduation rates, college admission and retention.
Simril said the five-year commitment from teams was important because changes will not happen overnight.
“The next step is to engage community organizations and a cohort of young leaders,” she said. “We are really trying to change systems and engage over the long term. The teams are committed to staying with it.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the work of The Alliance will be in addition to the community work already being done by each franchise. He also expects there will be plenty of participation by players on each team.
“This allows for another vehicle to get into communities. With numbers there are power,” he said.
The Alliance's first event will be a social justice symposium on July 22, which coincides with National Youth Sports Week.