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.
“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.