During MLK weekend 2019, Nike touched down in Atlanta, Georgia to launch its Future Varsity initiative, a campaign that provides leadership training and mentoring to youth across the nation who have launched inspiring projects in their communities. The four-day weekend of powerful programming kicked off on Friday at the National Center for Human and Civil Rights, where attendees — including PGS' very own ambassador Maiya Karin — were invited to participate in an intimate Q&A session with Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore.
Nike then teamed up with PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT and founder Aeshia DeVore Branch to put on two events centered around equality, diversity, and inclusion. On Saturday, Branch and the Future Varsity participants joined Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland and yoga instructor Jaimee Ratliff for a Hip-Hop yoga experience that pushed their bodies and reaffirmed their dedication to the infamous PGS pledge. In short, the pledge encourages reciters to love themselves, be respectful to others, and to surround themselves with positive people.
Sunday's lineup of events kicked off with a HIIT workout at the College Football Hall of Fame led by Copeland, who was also joined by fellow Nike Master Trainer Ariel Fox. Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy made an appearance at the workout to talk about his journey to becoming a pro-athlete and offer words of encouragement.
After fans broke a sweat, they headed back to The Gathering Spot and immersed themselves in half a day's worth of inspiring activities. First up on the agenda was a discussion with actress and activist Amandla Stenberg, known for her roles in The Hunger Games and The Hate U Give. She chatted with Branch about using her voice to make a difference and the meaning of UNTIL WE ALL WIN, which is the central theme of Nike's Future Varsity movement.
Stenberg also offered her perspective on how to go about following your dreams saying: "It can be so easy to let people and systems dictate your sense of self-worth. My advice would be to learn how to value yourself outside of those parameters. Don't allow people and their judgments of you dictate how you talk to, love, and think about yourself. Be comfortable with making mistakes, rejection, and failure because those are all necessary parts of the process. It allows you to not be afraid and not operate from fear."
The day and weekend ended with a breakout session with former NFL athlete Ray McElroy, who kept guests motivated by sharing his story of dreaming about playing professional football as a 7-year-old boy and the hurdles he faced to finally make it to the league. Through an interactive brainstorming session, he helped guests define their own personal mission statements and map out their dreams.
To learn more about the Nike Future Varsity program, click here.