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Chargers Working to Set Tone for L.A.'s Alliance

LAC_2020_The_Alliance

For the first time ever, all 11 sports teams in the Greater Los Angeles area will be playing in the same arena.

Last week marked the launch of The Alliance: "a comprehensive five-year commitment to drive investment and impact for social justice through sport." As part of The Alliance, teams will support the Play Equity Fund in Los Angeles, as well as Accelerate Change Together (ACT) Anaheim.

"This moment was so big that all 11 teams came on and jumped on board, and that kind of collaboration has never been seen before," Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos told CBS Los Angeles.

According to Play Equity Fund President Renata Simril, 48 percent of children in the LAUSD are obese or overweight. She called kids not having equal access to sport "a crisis hiding in plain sight."

"The work that we do is really about breaking those barriers, closing those gaps," Simril said. "We fund a middle school sports program in all 100 middle schools in LAUSD. [We're] trying to do our part to give kids an opportunity to play and to move and to be active because we know the critical importance of that to both their physical health and their mental health – and the connection to academic success."

Shortly after the tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told the Los Angeles Times that he wanted to be part of the positive change – action over statements.

The organization is in lockstep with Lynn's mantra, which Spanos said is, "It's not about writing a check. It's about being a part of the conversation and really making a difference."

"All the teams have done tremendous work in that regard," Simril said, "and the Chargers are right there up at the top in terms of standing up for this moment to do more, and to drive some meaning full change and impact in the communities that they serve."

Outside of The Alliance, the Chargers continue to play their part through several initiatives. In 2018, the team made a three-year commitment to the city's "Summer Night Lights" program, which reduces crime while building strong and safer communities.

"We specifically support sports programming and keeping sports free for kids," said Heather Birdsall, the Chargers' director of community partnerships. "It's a proven violence-prevention program."

With all 11 teams working together for social justice, the hope is Los Angeles becomes a model for other pro cities in the United States.

"There's sports teams in every major city across this country," Simril said. "We hope to serve as an example of teams in one of the most competitive sports markets in this world – putting their egos and their differences and their rivalries aside to come together."

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