These tennis stars are using their power to fight gun violence.
Venus and Serena Williams are incredible athletes.
But their recent work shows that their bold abilities reach far beyond the tennis court, too.
The two sisters just opened a safe haven for Compton residents affected by gun violence, which they're calling the The Yetunde Price Resource Center.
The center’s mission hits close to home for the tennis stars: They were raised in Compton, California, and their sister, Yetunde Price, fell victim to gun violence in Compton in 2003. Serena Williams opened up about the trauma from the tragedy in 2009 and how therapy was vital in her recovery.
The purpose of the center is simple: Community members who have directly or indirectly experienced trauma from gun violence will be connected with service providers who can provide assistance. The center's workers will also direct young people and their families to other resources available in the Compton area.
"This is an incredible investment and commitment by Serena and Venus Williams, and I commend them for their desire to help children and families in Compton thrive," Mayor Aja Brown told The Root.
The center is opening at a critical time in Compton.
The murder rate in the area tripled in 2016, and gang violence is starting to become more prevalent in the area. Compton has a long, difficult history with gun violence, so institutions like this resource center may play a huge role in changing the narrative for the city.
The negative impact of gun violence is pervasive, particularly for communities of color, which is also why the Williams sisters stepped up.
The tennis champions have long been advocates for social justice in disenfranchised communities because they know firsthand how impactful violence can be for children (according to The Child Welfare League of America, children and youth exposed to chronic trauma such as gun violence can experience inhibited brain development).
Therapy, while beneficial, is often difficult to come by for minorities who live in areas with a lower socioeconomic status.
When athletes and celebrities in power speak up against issues, it can help us make progress.
After Philando Castile's death was captured on camera, Serena Williams penned a heartfelt Facebook post about the dangers facing black men in America and police brutality. Her conversation helped spark other important conversations, too.
Now, with her sister, she's putting money and action behind those words, making it very clear that improving the world starts with improving your local community. It's a welcome show of kindness and strength in an often challenging world.