Sacramento Kings to Honor Local Black Leaders During NBA Restart

Continuing the Sacramento Kings long tradition of lifting up and highlighting community champions, the team will honor local Black leaders that have positively impacted the Sacramento region with the Dream All-Star Award and a video feature on the team’s social channels to amplify their voices during each of the eight seeding games in Orlando. The Dream All-Star awardees were chosen by Kings staff members and community partners based on their accomplishments and commitment to championing initiatives that support platforms and opportunity for our Black community.

“It is an honor to celebrate each of these individuals for their tremendous impact on our community fighting for increased access to education and resources, equity and social justice,” said Sacramento Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “With an unwavering dedication to serving youth, young people and families, the Dream All-Stars are incredibly deserving of our ongoing support and recognition. We thank them for their tireless work, numerous contributions and leadership in ensuring the region lives up to its fullest potential for all residents.”

The eight distinguished Dream All-Star honorees and game date they will be honored include:

Moe Copeland, Interim Assistant Director of Programs for Housing Services, Sacramento LGBT Community Center (July 31)

Moe Copeland serves at the Interim Assistant Director of Programs for Housing Services at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center and is focused on helping unhoused transitional aged youth (18 to 24 years old) achieve their life and housing goals daily.

Nicholas Haystings, Executive Director, Square Root Academy (August 2)

Nicholas Haystings is the founder and President of Square Root Academy, which exposes over 3,000 underrepresented scholars annually to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and the careers of the future through after school programming.

Les Simmons, Senior Pastor, South Sacramento Christian Center (August 4)

Les Simmons is a community leader, advocate and pastor who has been on the front lines of the battle for equality, justice and inclusion in his South Sacramento community and beyond. Les has been a fierce advocate and leading voice for police reform, ending injustice including protesting at the border over the treatment of immigrant families and children, and participating as a core leader of Build.Black, a group focused on inclusive economic development and the Black community.

Marcus Strother, President and CEO, MENTOR California (August 6)

Marcus Strother is a career educator, youth and community advocate, 22-year veteran in public education and President and CEO of MENTOR California, dedicated to expanding quality mentoring relationships for young people.

Michael Tubbs, Mayor, City of Stockton (August 7)

Michael Tubbs serves as the City of Stockton’s first African American mayor and youngest mayor of any city in America. His leadership paired with an ambitious progressive agenda has received national recognition including bringing Advanced Peace to Stockton to work to reduce gun violence, launching Stockton Scholars to increase the number of college graduates and developing the nation’s first-ever mayor-led guaranteed income pilot known as Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED).

James Van Buren, Director, Grant High School Drumline (August 9)

James Van Buren (“Mr. V”), a teacher and musician, founded Grant High School’s drumline in 2009 as an opportunity for students to tap into their musical nature while simultaneously avoiding getting into trouble. The drumline has received a magnitude of exposure and has performed internationally.

Dr. Marcellene Watson-Derbigny, Associate Vice President, Student Retention and Academic Success, California State University, Sacramento (August 11)

Dr. Marcellene Watson Derbigny provides broad oversight to over 25 plus educational equity programs and components, she is well versed in educational equity practice, program development, and in the strategic planning of retention initiatives within complex higher education structures, overseeing a vast realm of programs and initiatives that leverage the success of students.

Dr. Maisha Winn, Co-founder and Co-director, UC Davis Transformative Justice in Education Center (August 13)

Dr. Maisha Winn is the Associate Dean and Chancellor’s Leadership Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis where she co-founded and co-directs the Transformative Justice in Education (TJE) Center, community-university collaborative serving practitioners and researchers committed to disrupting racial inequities in education by creating restorative, humanizing, justice-seeking teaching and learning communities.

These awards are a continuation of the franchise’s longstanding commitment to give back to the community, invest in Black youth locally and support civic engagement. In the coming days, the Kings, in partnership with the Build.Black. Coalition, the Black Child Legacy Campaign, My Brother’s Keeper Sacramento, First Tee of Greater Sacramento, Cameron Champ Foundation and OneSwing Golf Academy will announce the third season of Kings and Queens Rise, the highly successful co-ed youth sports and mentoring league. Recently, the team announced that Golden 1 Center would be transformed to a Vote Center for the November election to enable voters to register to vote and cast their ballots while practicing social distancing. And last month, the team developed a “Pledge to Our Black Community” to help combat social and racial injustice and invest in meaningful change.

For more information, visit Kings.com.