Over MLK weekend, January 18-21, PeacePlayers’ U.S. programs held our 3rd annual MLK Day celebrations honoring MLK’s legacy, our local youth and community partners, and the power of sport to unite communities. We celebrated the events under the theme: “Dream. Believe. Unite.” At each site, our youth heard from inspiring leaders in the community and used that inspiration to think about the future of their own communities and how they can make a difference. The weekend served as an outstanding reminder that every person in attendance, no matter how old, has the power to make a difference. Below are some highlights from each our events.
PeacePlayers Chicago hosted its second annual MLK Day on Saturday, January 18. As part of the day youth participated in a Legacy Workshop—exploring how to use one’s one talent to make a legacy in their community—shoe restoration workshop and basketball skills clinic run by Jordan Ambassadors. In addition they had the chance to hear from two youth leaders from the Chicago area: McKinley Nelson, founder of Project Swish and Jakhil Jackson, a Young CNN Hero and founder of Project I Am.
PeacePlayers Los Angeles celebrated their second annual MLK Day celebration on Saturday, January 18th. The event was hosted at Salvation Army and highlighted the new partnership that has allowed PeacePlayers to serve youth from across the different LA housing developments in one location. Youth took part in three stations including an intro to street soccer with Grassroots Soccer, A Dream and photo-booth session challenging youth to explore their dreams and a community circle station exploring the importance of dreams and setting goals to achieve them. The day then concluded with an intense three on three tournament.
On Monday, January 20th, 2020, PeacePlayers-Brooklyn hosted its third annual MLK All-Star Event. The event was in partnership with the UnitedBrownsville Cornerstone League (UBCL). The UBCL brings together youth from six housing developments in Brownsville and 4 in East New York to compete, take part in life skills workshops, access mentorship and most importantly, build positive relationships. Participants were placed on teams with youth from other housing developments and put through a variety of on and off court activities before competing in a closing tournament. Off court activities included a session dreaming about a future vision for each youth individual and the larger Brownsville/East New York communities
PeacePlayers Detroit hosted their third annual MLK Day Celebration on Monday, January 20th at the newly opened Henry Ford Pistons Performance Center. It was one of the first community events hosted at the Center and helped PeacePlayers draw over 250 people to the event. Youth took part in two off the court sessions that allowed them to explore their own dreams and visions for their lives and explored how to build community across racial and geographic boundaries under the South African theme Ubuntu. Pistons Legend Earl Cureton spoke to the group about following their dreams and the importance of helping their community.
While snow storms forced our Baltimore site to delay their celebration, a new date is now set! Baltimore will hold their Day of Unity event on Saturday, February 29th from 11am – 2pm at the Langston Hughes Community, Business & Resource Center (5011 Arbutus Ave, Baltimore MD 21215). For more information on this event, contact Shawn Brown firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support PeacePlayers throughout MLK weekend. With your help, we honored Dr. King and showed the power of our united communities. Follow PeacePlayers on social media for more upcoming events and information on how you can get involved!