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Jan. 6, 2020

By understanding different perspectives and leveraging our individual power and privileges, we each have a role to play in creating meaningful, positive change in respect to racial equity and inclusion.

Stadium group photo
Locker room group photo

That is the theme and message of RISE's inaugural Super Bowl Leadership Program. Launching in November 2019 and continuing through the week of Super Bowl LIV in Miami this month, the program brings together youth and adult leaders in sports and the community from across South Florida to explore ways to improve race relations and champion social justice.

The approximately 50 participants were hand-selected by a series of organizations, including high schools, universities, YMCA, YWCA and local police departments, and were each chosen for the passion and commitment they have displayed for ending racism. Many of the student-athletes completed RISE's 10-week high school leadership program last fall, which is designed to educate and empower them to become champions of change in their communities.

Stadium group photo
Locker room group photo

Participants have come together twice in November and December, and are meeting again twice in January to build relationships, gain new perspective, and work collaboratively to propose and enact solutions to combat cultural and structural divisions.

The impact of this work has been compelling and clear.

"The groups that we were in were all very diverse," said Laura Lammy, a student from the YWCA Sunshine's Heart Mentoring Program. "I took something from every single person sitting at my table,"

The work these leaders have put into bettering their community will be celebrated at the Perez Museum of Art in Miami during the week of Super Bowl LIV.

"I am hoping that we build friendships," shared Miami Gardens Police Chief Larry Juriga. "I am hoping we build a better understanding from each of our own perspectives and that by coming together over these next [few weeks] we will unify and each one us will leave with a better attitude and perspective on what other people see."

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