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It’s hard to find the right words to explain the confusion, frustration, anxiety, anger, and sadness we're feeling, surrounding COVID-19, but most recently and most profoundly from the inhumane murder of George Floyd at the hands of the very people we count on to protect and serve. Like you, we also know so many honorable men & women in law enforcement, like our own Lawrence police officers who spend time at our camps every summer playing, sharing and connecting, but what’s obvious from this horrific act, coupled with our own work experiences, and the countless voices calling out across our nation, is that much more introspection, reflection, and action is necessary for change.

Since 2007, Beyond Soccer has acted. We’ve committed to leveling the playing field, and courts, for young people in Lawrence, who continue to be left out, under-represented and under-resourced compared to their nearby suburban counterparts. We’re focused on opportunities for inclusion, unity, connection, understanding, learning, and listening.

This heinous act and our disconnection from our wonderful families, has reminded us that we have so much more work to do. Some of those steps are already underway...
We’re recommitted to establishing a sports collaborative in Lawrence, with all city sports groups, so we can be more unified and more effective for our city. Beyond Volley has been added, which means we’re working with more people who care about kids’ sport disparities. We’re also part of the Schools & Youth Working Group , established in response to COVID-19, that organized a 2nd youth summit for 75 people, but this time, pivoted from our recent focus on youth jobs and created a safe space for sharing feelings around racial injustice. Our hope is that this summit will lead to more action! 
Nelson Mandela’s quote that “ Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite the world in a way that little else does ,” reminds us of the opportunity & responsibility we have to continue to act, side-by-side with our community members, using sport to address obvious inequities that are at the heart of racial injustice. We won’t let you down, and we want you to help us be a better part of the process. -Steph McArdle