Carmelo Anthony Holds Town Hall Meeting to Address Violence and Crime With Los Angeles Youth
Carmelo Anthony spent the U.S. Olympic basketball team’s precious day off running a two-hour town hall meeting at a South Los Angeles youth center because he can’t sleep anymore.
With only a few spare hours Monday before jetting off to continue the Americans’ pre-Olympic tour, Anthony gathered basketball stars, community leaders and police officers to speak with teenagers and young adults about the importance of respect, communication and safety. Roughly 200 people came together for the meeting, and Anthony believes everyone left with something to contemplate.
“We really got a lot of messages out of today,” Anthony said. “Hopefully we can continue this dialogue, and we created something today that will continue on.”
Anthony shares many Americans’ profound disquiet with gun violence after this year’s series of increasingly dismaying shootings. With both the men’s and women’s Olympic teams in Los Angeles at the same time, the New York Knicks star recruited fellow Olympian Tamika Catchings and other like-minded athletes at the Challengers Boys and Girls Club to begin a badly needed nationwide conversation.
“There were some very, very powerful messages that were being talked about,” Anthony said. “Not just amongst us as athletes, but among the youth. The youth really spoke out today about how they feel about their community, how they feel about police officers, how they feel about relationships and how we can mend these relationships.”
Anthony’s awakening interest in social activism was piqued after he spent a day watching news coverage of the latest shootings earlier this month. He awoke in the middle of the night and wrote a 280-word Instagram post declaring that the “system is broken” and calling on sports figures to lead change.
“The first thing that came to my mind was, I have to get my athletes, my fellow athletes, to step up and use their voice and use their platform in the best way they can,” Anthony said.
Two weeks ago, he took the stage at the ESPY Awards with Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The four superstars decried violence and called for open conversation on racial issues.
Anthony backed up the group’s words before Team USA left Los Angeles following an exhibition game on Sunday night. He plans to keep finding ways to facilitate communication after this gathering led to frank discussions.