"Hopefully we can continue this dialogue, and we created something today that will continue on," Carmelo Anthony said
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony ran a “town hall” meeting on Monday before continuing his pre-Olympics tour with the Team USA men’s basketball team.
Around 200 people – including athletes, community leaders, police and students – gathered at a south Los Angeles youth center for a social discussion on topics including gun violence and youth perception of police officers.
“There were some very, very powerful messages that were being talked about. 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 told USA Today.
He added, “We really got a lot of messages out of today. Hopefully we can continue this dialogue, and we created something today that will continue on.”
Anthony’s Team USA basketball teammates, along with the women’s Olympic team, joined him for the meeting at Challengers Boys & Girls Club. There were 80 teenagers present as well as representatives from the Los Angeles Police Department.
The basketball star thanked everyone, especially the police officers, for coming out to the event – which was called “Leadership Together: A Conversation With Our Sons & Daughters.”
“I know in situations like this they can feel awkward being in front of these people and hearing all of the negativity that comes by. It’s easier to hear it when you turn on TV about how bad the police are. It’s very difficult to hear it coming from the actual youth sitting there in small groups to take that information and decipher that,” he said, according to The Undefeated.
“The four of us we cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America,” he said at the July 13 live event. “The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken. But the problems are not new, the violence is not new and the racial divide definitely is not new.”
He added, “But the urgency for change is at an all time high.”