Source: Philadephia Inquirer
Date: June 21, 2004
Byline: Steven Lassiter, CEO, Educate-To-Skate Foundation, Philadelphia
Letter: Urban skateboardingIn his June 2 article, "Money Can't Buy LOVE Park," Michael Currie Schaffer wrote that many of the skateboarders at a news conference were "from Philadelphia's suburbs." That wasn't true, and it perpetuates a hurtful misconception. Most of that crowd was made up of Philadelphia residents.
Skateboarding often is accused of being a white, suburban sport. But anyone who looked at that crowd saw that half the kids there were minorities. LOVE Park turned skateboarding from a suburban sport into an urban sport.
My son, Stevie Williams, is one of the world's most famous professional street skateboarders. He is African American. He left Philly because LOVE Park was closed; he will return to live here when it is reopened to skateboarders.
I run an organization called Educate-To-Skate. We provide skateboards to poor children in Philadelphia who cannot afford to buy their own equipment. Skateboarding helps children keep away from drugs and violence and gives them something to do that is healthy and beneficial, and that they share outdoors with friends. Mayor Street, please give us our park back. Think of the children you could save.