During Black History Month, Eat. Learn. Play. is celebrating influential Black leaders in the Oakland community who are doing fantastic work supporting our mission of providing access to the three essential pillars of a healthy childhood — nutrition, education, and physical activity.
Meet Lamont Robinson, who currently spearheads the middle school sports program at Oakland Unified School District. Lamont is committed to giving back to Oakland, a community that played a significant role in his dedication to providing kids and youth with creative programming and other opportunities to play and be active.
Lamont and his team at Oakland Athletic League have been tremendous partners of Eat. Learn. Play. and we have some big plans for the future as we work together to enhance middle school sports in 2021 and beyond.
Read more about Lamont and his community work below, and .stay tuned this month for more profiles of our friends in the Oakland community.
What do you love most about Oakland?
What I love most about Oakland is the diversity of the people, obstacles, and opportunities that make Oakland special. Growing up and navigating through life in such a diverse city made me the man I am today.
The learnings from all the people I’ve interacted with stick with me to this day. The obstacles I had to overcome provided the challenges that made me strong in mind, body, and spirit. The opportunities I’ve been blessed to take advantage of only presented themselves to me because of my being a true son of the Town. For those reasons, I love my city. I love Oakland!
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is a time to dig deeper into learning, understanding, and appreciating all the amazing things Black people have accomplished not only in this country but the entire world. Too often, the places where significant African American history happened have been unrecognized for the vital role that our ancestors have played in American history.
I take time throughout the year to embrace Black History. This February, I want to especially honor and uplift all the Black American Women that have sacrificed their minds, bodies, and spirits for all Americans to be great. Malcolm X said, "The most disrespected person in America is the Black Woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black Woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black Woman."
For me, Black History Month provides more visibility to a year-round effort to be better by knowing my history and recognizing my people's accomplishments.
What does it mean to you personally to be able to support the local community?
Being able to support my local community means the world to me. As I mentioned earlier, I give so much credit to my community for the man I am today. I think about the coaches, teachers, neighbors, friends, and mentors that impacted my life positively, and I feel an obligation to give back to the community that has given me so much.
It's never been about the money or even recognition. Still, about the extreme level of satisfaction, I feel when seeing my efforts positively impact the lives of the youth, families, and community. I feel blessed to have the many opportunities I have to give back and support my community.
How is your organization helping kids now that distance learning has become a part of their reality?
Oakland is a community that was already suffering from a lack of efficient programming for youth development, health and wellness, and sports education to keep our youth engaged yearly. With the pandemic and the shelter in place mandate. The pandemic gave me great pause and concern about the youth at a greater risk of homelessness, going hungry, and human trafficking.
Co-founding a nonprofit organization provided creative youth programming but with limited resources. I knew that the Oakland Athletic League's work had to be creative, realistic, and uplifting during these times for our families. Therefore, I spearheaded the OAL Middle School Task Force to bring youth development leaders and advocates together to develop The Oakland Renaissance Foundation, a foundation created to support comprehensive and equitable youth sports programming.