NAACP Sponsors Walk for Unity

By William Masselli ~ Editor-in-Chief

Photo retrieved from Lynchburg Area Youth Sports Initiative ( on Feb. 19, 2022. The Lynchburg Area Youth Sports Initiative worked with University of Lynchburg’s NAACP Chapter to create the Walk for Unity event. 

The University of Lynchburg’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Chapter sponsored the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration and Walk for Unity in downtown Lynchburg this past weekend.

President of the NAACP’s chapter at the University of Lynchburg Tremaud Ware said, “In taking an active role in changing the narrative around student activism, I highly encourage our students to attend the unity walk. Not only should we show up, but also speak up, thus showing the greater Lynchburg community that my generation has a fighting spirit for advocacy and justice. We demand a better tomorrow! I look forward to this event, because of my passion for my black pride and my commitment to having a just society for future generations to come. In order for change to occur, students, staff, faculty, alumni and the Lynchburg community  must stand in unity!  

University of Lynchburg Women’s Soccer Head Coach Todd Olsen noted that, “The Lynchburg Area Youth Sports Initiative (LAYSI) is a local group  of nonprofit organizations that have banded together to provide opportunities for area youth to participate in sports.   Sport in America has become a “pay to play” model.  For some of our most vulnerable children, this model causes economic and social barriers that prevent children from participating.   Our objective at LAYSI, is to provide a bridge to reduce some of the obstacles and barriers to play sport.   One of our target populations are children in some of the low income areas of Lynchburg.   One of the challenges of this population is gaining acceptance and entry into their community.  To this end, LAYSI had been conducting community sport days and pop-up clinics in our targeted community. We want to take sports to the kids.   We thought that a Martin Luther King Jr. walk for unity would provide an entry point in which we can develop relationships and trust with key stakeholders in the community.   Our hope is that the MLK Jr. walk for unity will do just that–bring our community together so that LAYSI can develop trust in our community and long lasting relationships.” 

Olsen also said, “Our hope is that local children will join the walk and learn more about the history of Lynchburg and who and what Martin Luther King Jr. died for as well as learn about opportunities in our community for sport. We hope that this walk  will unite our community and truly form bridges of cooperation and collaboration amongst community members to help our children reach their potential regardless of race or gender. We hope that young people will learn about the history of our city and learn about peace and equality that Martin Luther King Jr. was so eloquently able to communicate during his historic life.” 

Treney Tweedy, Lynchburg’s former mayor, said, ‘We Are Stronger Together.”

If you are interested in learning more about this event or participating in it next year, please contact Olsen at or Ware at

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