‘Black Skate Day’ allows for people of color to be represented in the skating community

Written By Virginia Garner

On Sept. 4, 2020, members of the Pittsburgh community came together at Bloomfield Park for an evening filled with skateboarding, music and prizes for the first Black Skate Day: An event planned by the Pittsburgh youth organization Black, Young and Educated (BYE).

The goal of Black Skate Day, according to the organization’s Instagram page, was to “create a community among black skaters, and give a space where more black youth can take on the art of skating.”

Treasure, 19, the chief creative director and president, and Nite, 18, the donor relations manager and CEO, founded BYE in 2019. Both are first generation Americans and feel that more people of color should be represented in the skating community.

“In Pittsburgh, I see so many white-owned skate shops and white skaters,” Nite said. “We need more people of color represented in the skating community.”

The skaters in attendance had varying levels of experience, from pro-skaters using skating ramps and performing tricks to beginners who were aided by the strangers around them; all were accepted. Seven, 19, a novice skateboarder from Oakland, felt welcomed and able to hone her skills.

“I just started skating a month ago, basically I can skate in a straight line,” Seven said. “If another Black Skate Day is planned, I will definitely attend. The atmosphere here is crazy uplifting; it’s amazing.”

“I’ve never seen black people being represented in the skating community,” Treasure said. “That’s why I never skated until recently.”

Real Skateboards, a popular skateboarding company that makes and sells skateboards and apparel, donated 10 skateboards with the words “End Racism” printed on the deck of the boards to Kerry Weber, owner of Switch and Signal Skatepark in Swissvale. The skateboards were donated to use as a means of fundraising for a social justice organization of his choosing. As a supporter of BYE, Weber chose the organization to aid their cause.

Additionally, Real Skateboards set up a table where participants of the event could register to vote and request mail-in ballots for Pennsylvania. Along with the forms, on the table were stickers, pins, magnets and t-shirts available for purchase, all of the funds going towards community activities and events planned by BYE.

“We’ve been collecting boards that individuals have donated, and we are raffling off the ‘End Racism’ boards,” Weber said. “So far, we’ve raised about $2,400 in total.”

Black, Young, and Educated hosts a plethora of events, such as sit-ins, art galleries, Q&A panels, reflections, strikes and weekly themed events known as “Civil Saturdays” where participants can join peaceful marches around numerous neighborhoods of Pittsburgh to protest various racial and social injustices occurring on national and local scales.

“Everyone in the organization does such amazing things; they’re all great people,” Seven said. “The atmosphere here at Black Skate Day is the same atmosphere at Civil Saturdays.”

Currently, Black, Young, and Educated is planning another Black Skate Day for the future and will continue to hold events to educate the community on social injustices and ways individuals can help. They are currently accepting donations through Venmo (username: blackyoungedu) and Cash App (username: $blackyoungedu).