Charlotte-based nonprofit ProjectiGive will host its first Social Justice Olympics Summit in response to national conversations on racial inequality. The community-curated event starts on July 23 and runs through Aug.8.
Husband-and-wife duo Lonnell and LaDrea Ingram founded ProjectiGive in January 2015 after observing the need to address education, health, wellness and social justice issues on a community-wide level.
They birthed the Social Justice and Multculturalism Initiative last summer as topics of systemic racism and racial injustices flooded headlines. LaDrea, a social behavior researcher and health educator, said they wanted to take a proactive approach amid a dual pandemic – Covid-19 and racial inequality.
The Ingrams created the Social Justice Olympics Summit under the initiative’s umbrella as a way to raise awareness of social change efforts in the community and prepare for future responses. A schedule of 17 sessions will intersect athletics, race, education, economics, health and spirituality.
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“Community organizations and sometimes communities of color don’t always have trusting relationships, and that comes from very deep-rooted historical trauma,” she said. “We want to ensure that we were creating a safe space in a community of trusted individuals that are seeking to do the work and seeking to really build social change efforts in our communities.”
Though Charlotte serves as the host city, a majority of the events will be held virtually over Zoom this year, with community organizations and scholars representing six states leading the two-week summit.
LaDrea says she’s most looking forward to a discussion about community resilience in sports and how sports can be innovative in social justice. As former Division I track & field athletes, the Ingrams see a metaphorical value in sports — which is why they themed the summit as “Olympics.” She added how sports can serve as a venue for social change.
“Similar to nations participating in the Olympic Games for one common goal — to be the top in the world and make it to the podium for a medal — our goal is to bring people and organizations together to shine a light on social justice,” she said.
Visit socialjusticeos.com for a full schedule of events and to register.