The Cookout is a free event taking place on the mini-pitch in Petersburg Park
Louisville Parks and Recreation, Black Players for Change (BPC), Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC), and the US Soccer Foundation will host their first-ever collaborative event, The Cookout, on June 19, 2022 in celebration of June 16th.
The family-friendly event will be held on the recently completed mini-pitch at Petersburg Park, 5008 E. Indian Trail and will feature complimentary food provided by Boss Hog’s BBQ Food Truck for attendees while supplies last. In addition, professional athletes will be present to take part in football matches with the public. The event lasts from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m
June 16 is the oldest known holiday commemorating the final announcement of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The holiday, celebrated on June 19 each year, has its origins in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, when soldiers notified residents of the end of slavery nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. In June 2020, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed an executive order recognizing the day as an official holiday for Louisville Metro Government (LMG) workers, and early next year established a 16-member 16th anniversary commission. June to host an annual celebration here. For more information on the city’s 2022 celebrations, visit juneteenthlou.com
“We are excited to partner with organizations like the US Soccer Foundation, BPC and BWPC, all of whom work tirelessly to eliminate racial inequalities in sport and society,” said Mayor Fischer. “We look forward to celebrating Juneteenth and Black Excellence – on and off the pitch – with the whole city.”
“And,” he added, “as we prepare to host the inaugural USL Summer Showcase next month, the June 19 event is also another opportunity to showcase Louisville’s love of soccer — the nation’s fastest-growing sport.” .”
The Petersburg Park Mini Pitch was officially dedicated in October 2021 and honors members of BPC and BWPC – with women of BWPC featured in images surrounding the pitch. Built as part of a US Soccer Foundation initiative aimed at removing systemic barriers to sports for black youth, it is a partnership between BPC, BWPC, US Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting and adidas.
“From the beginning, Black Players for Change has been committed to using football as our vehicle to create lasting change,” said Earl Edwards Jr., President of Black Players for Change. “Working with these like-minded organizations, having access to this beautiful game and celebrating such a historic event is the perfect culmination and example of why we started the BPC. We look forward to everyone coming to celebrate!”
“We are very excited to celebrate June 16 with BPC and BWPC and our partners at Louisville Parks and Recreation,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO of the US Soccer Foundation. “Enabling these mini pitches and ensuring children and families have safe places to play the game ensures our sport is more inclusive and accessible to all.”
Together, BPC and BWPC have brought more than 18 mini-pitches to underfunded black communities. With 70% of Black communities lacking recreational facilities and only 35% of Black children ages 6 to 12 regularly exercise, providing mini-playfields and other resources is a goal both organizations see as a major generational shift toward growth black professional athletes in soccer.
Petersburg Park is located in Metro Council District 2, represented by Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin.
“It is important that everyone, regardless of race, gender, income or background, be given the opportunity to experience a variety of recreational activities in their own community. The great cultural diversity that people in my district represent lends itself to a wide range of potential sporting interests – and one that’s more popular than ever is football,” said Shanklin. “I would like to thank the US Soccer Foundation, BPC and BWPC for their work and generosity in providing my constituents with a beautiful mini pitch to play and practice in, and for this celebratory ‘Cookout’ event on June 16th. As we continue to strive for equity and inclusion for everyone in our neighborhoods, having partners like these is invaluable to help us achieve our goals and reach out to those who are often excluded.”
Anyone under the age of 18 interested in participating in scrimmage at the June 19 event must be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian to complete a waiver.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE PARKS AND RECREATION
Louisville Parks and Recreation, a state-approved parks and recreation agency, manages 120 parks and six parkways on more than 13,000 acres and operates recreation programs for residents of all ages and abilities. Since taking office in 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer has been committed to ensuring equity in parks and recreation, including launching the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative, the ECHO (Louisville’s Engaging Children Outdoors) program, and most recently becoming the third city in the country to initiate an equity review of all Metro-owned parks and facilities. bestparkserver.com
ABOUT BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE
Black Players for Change (BPC) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization comprised of more than 170 Black MLS players, coaches and staff working to bridge society’s racial equality divide. BPC is committed to addressing the racial injustices that prevent black people from having a fair share in the game of football and in society. Among its many goals, the organization strives to draw attention to human rights inequalities, from protests to programs, partnerships and policies that address systemic discrimination. Visit www.BlackPlayersForChange.org for more information
ABOUT THE BLACK WOMEN PLAYER COLLECTIVE
The Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) is a not-for-profit organization that advances the image, value and representation of Black women as athletes and leaders in business, industry, and public and private institutions. Currently made up of the 43 Black women participating in the NWSL as of 2020, the BWPC aims to provide a collective voice for the Black perspective and experience of a female professional athlete amid the ceaseless and pervasive racial inequality and social injustice that plagues our country to lend. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
ABOUT US FOOTBALL FOUNDATION
US Soccer Foundation programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its inception in 1994, the Foundation has developed programs proven to help children adopt active and healthy lifestyles while fostering their personal growth beyond sport. Its low-cost, high-impact initiatives provide safe environments where children and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the US Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.