LOS ANGELES — On a Friday afternoon, Charlie Harmony is practicing a few moves. He’s been skateboarding since he was in high school and tries to get out to Venice Beach two to three times a week just for fun.

"I never really fit in in high school and so once I played Tony Hawk Pro Skater, basically is when I felt like I belonged to something, felt accepted by something," Harmony said.

It’s a diverse group of skaters at the Venice Skate Park and Harmony said he’s always felt welcome in the skateboarding community.

"Once you get into skateboarding and everyone’s doing it, it just feels like everybody’s one color," he said.

"This is one of the most diverse sports, action sports ever," said Vincent Green, who is still in high school and already putting his moves on display.

"It came to me, super easy," Green said.

The teen has high aspirations to someday skateboard in the Olympics, he said. He’s only been doing it for three years and is already in love.

"The people, the vibes, me going super high in the air, feeling the wind," Green said.

A recent study out of USC found that skaters of color, particularly African American skaters, felt safer and that they were judged less harshly when they were carrying skateboards.

"Having a young person of color holding a skateboard and feeling safer walking through white neighborhoods or other spaces where they could be perceived as threatening. To me, that’s amazing to actually see that they can actually feel that there’s some safety, that there’s some just level of security that’s coming from them holding skateboards that they wouldn’t have if they were holding a football or bouncing a basketball," said Neftalie Williams, who co-authored the study, funded by the Tony Hawk Foundation.

He said its evidence skateboarding can be a tool to create unity.

"If we continue to push skateboarding and build a platform for skateboarding, that means that those are ways that people can come together and just have some little hint of beginning conversations or dialogues, and most importantly, it just keeps Black people or people of color alive," Williams said.

He said the sport serves a unique role among many others because it’s more of a lifestyle and an identity that bridges racial and economic divides.

"Because skateboarders are deciding to opt into this constructed identity of the skateboarder when that happens, that means they have a global community and that’s something we as adults need to focus on and make sure we’re supporting," Williams said.

He said skateboarding’s debut in the next summer Olympics is directly tied to its popularity around the globe and a built-in diversity, something adults can learn from the kids.

"With skateboarding, you now get the reason to communicate together, the reason to have shared space, and the reason to want to learn about someone else’s background because you have a shared love for the activity," he said. 

"You can build a skatepark in the neighborhood. You can make sure that that little incubator is a space for everyone to be involved and that’s a little effort you can do is building the skatepark and not policing the skatepark and making kids feel bad for being at a skatepark."

On the surface, it may not look like the antidote to racism but at skateparks, skaters don’t feel judged by the color of their skin... but rather the tricks they’re trying to land.