They are known for their fierce game on the court, but now Serena and Venus Williams are using their power to support and lift up communities affected by violence. "It's very important to take the opportunity to help the community, to help others, and to turn that pain into hope," Venus says.
On Saturday, Serena and Venus hosted A Family Affair—a charity event benefiting the Williams Sisters Fund and the Yetunde Price Resource Center, a community center in Compton Calif., named after their sister who was murdered in a drive-by shooting in 2013. The event was presented by Oath, MAKERS' parent company, in partnership with MAKERS.
"Violence has hit very close to home in our family and families of loved ones and it's not easy, but through it we become stronger and also through it we're able to help other people," Venus told the crowd filled with families and young teens at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C.
The discussion got real—and very personal—with topics ranging from gun control and police brutality to domestic and community violence. The Williams sisters shared personal stories alongside trailblazing activists like Women's March national co-chair Tamika Mallory, actor and activist Malik Yoba, scholar Anton House, COO of the Yetunde Price Resource Center, Dr. Sharoni Little, and moderator Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN's SportsCenter.
The panel delivered inspiring, actionable ideas on how to encourage education and effect change among young people in underserved communities. "Creative therapy is extremely important because it's a way to express yourself and to get anger, frustration, any emotions out," Serena says. "Even though I play tennis, I still have a creative outlet."
In the end, "we must educate these kids with things that they can utilize to uplift themselves and help them be better," says panelist Anton House. Watch the full discussion lead by Serena and Venus Williams here.