The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles had the privilege of participating in the highly-anticipated 3rd Annual Alliance Youth Day of Action and March, last weekend. Invited to join the event, teens from 12 LA Y branches -- including Ann & Steve Hinchliffe San Pedro & Peninsula YMCA, Collins & Katz Family YMCA, Crenshaw Family YMCA, Montebello-Commerce YMCA, Palisades-Malibu YMCA, Torrance-South Bay YMCA, Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, Weingart YMCA Wellness & Aquatic Center, Westchester Family YMCA, and Wilmington YMCA -- came together to amplify their voices and collaborate with a dozen professional sports teams from the region. The event's mission was to enhance youth representation, advocacy, and community-building. The day served as a powerful reminder of how the LA Y can engage its various services, arming teens with civic engagement opportunities and fostering sportsmanship beyond the field.
The event commenced with a spirited unity march, where enthusiastic teens showcased their passion for change by creating and carrying signs expressing their voices. Accompanied by pro athletes and other youth from various areas of LA, the march was a powerful symbol of unity and solidarity. Together, the 40 YMCA teens discussed and determined the causes they would advocate for in the community including gender equality in sports, unity amongst people of color, and supporting trans athletes.
Throughout the day, the event featured speeches from various leaders from both the community and the athletic world. They shared words of wisdom and recounted their own experiences in advocacy. The stories of perseverance and dedication left the teens inspired and motivated to make a positive impact in their communities.
One of the key highlights of the event was the roundtable discussion with representatives from law enforcement. The teens were divided into small groups to engage in open dialogue, sharing their perspectives on policing while also learning about the challenges faced by officers and the communities they serve. The conversation focused on understanding the perception of law enforcement among youth, especially those from Black and Brown communities throughout LA. It was a significant opportunity for the teens to express their thoughts and hold adults accountable for shaping their future.
The event culminated in a group discussion on sportsmanship and bringing the community together. The importance of sports in fostering unity and teamwork was emphasized – both on and off the sports field -- providing a valuable lesson for the young participants. The collaboration with the Alliance and the partnering sports teams exemplified how shared values can create positive change and empower youth to become agents of transformation.
We extend a heartfelt appreciation to the organizers of the 3rd Annual Alliance Youth Day of Action and March for inviting us to participate in this impactful event. We are especially grateful to our partners – the LA Kings, the LA Clippers, and the LA Dodgers - for their unwavering support and dedication to providing opportunities for youth to use their voices. These professional sports teams have been instrumental in empowering the teens and aligning with the YMCA's mission to create positive change.
Participating in the 3rd Annual Alliance Youth Day of Action and March was an unforgettable experience for our teens who were invited. The event served as a powerful reminder of how the YMCA can leverage its diverse services to culminate teens' civic engagement and sportsmanship in a meaningful way. By
bringing together YMCAs from different neighborhoods, the event showcased the potential for collective impact when youth come together with a shared purpose.
The day of action and march highlighted the importance of civic engagement, providing a platform for teens to raise their voices, advocate for their communities, and collaborate with professional sports teams. The combination of athletics and advocacy demonstrated how sports can transcend beyond the field and inspire young individuals to take an active role in building a better society.
Together, we can continue to empower our youth, combining the power of sportsmanship with the importance of civic engagement, to build a brighter future for all.