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RISE Super Bowl Town Hall

Posted Jan 31, 2018

RISE will be back at the Super Bowl this year, and its presence will be bigger than ever.

The highlight of the week for the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality will be the third annual Super Bowl Town Hall: "The Next Play: Best Practices for Using Sports to Improve Race Relations."

RISE again will be part of the Super Bowl Experience, but with an addition this year, the opportunity to register to vote through its RISE to Vote campaign.

For the first time this year, RISE will be at the big game itself with a booth in Section 115 at U.S. Bank Stadium, site of Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.



RISE also will have a podcast from the Super Bowl for the first time. The podcast will originate from Radio Row at the Super Bowl LII Media Center. The podcast episodes will feature interviews with NFL players on the power of sports to drive social progress and the work they do as athletes to improve race relations in our country. The RISE podcast will start Wednesday evening HERE.

"We're excited to expand our presence at the Super Bowl this year and feature all three pillars of our work - engaging students, fans and professional athletes," said Jocelyn Benson, RISE CEO. "It's a great opportunity on one of the world's biggest stages to demonstrate how sports, at any level, can be used to bring people together to improve race relations and drive social progress."

The RISE and NFL Super Bowl Town Hall will take place Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. ET at the Super Bowl Media Center at the Mall of America.

The Town Hall will be livestreamed on RISE's Facebook page facebook.com/risetowinorg.

NFL players and executives who have been leading voices for RISE will participate in panel discussions to review lessons learned from the activist athlete this season with a focus on what's coming next. RISE also will release a report on athlete activism in 2017 and recommendations for best practices moving forward.

Dolphins safety Michael Thomas again will be among the participants, and he will be joined by Benson, Atlanta Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, ESPN NFL reporter Jim Trotter, retired running back Rashad Jennings, and current players Seth DeValve of the Cleveland Browns, Josh McCown of the New York Jets and Benjamin Watson of the Baltimore Ravens.

RISE's involvement at the Super Bowl Experience will feature an "It Takes All Colors Fan Activation," along with the voter registration drive.

Fans can show support for understanding, respect and equality by visiting the RISE "It Takes All Colors" digital photo experience at the Super Bowl Experience in the Minneapolis Convention Center and, for the first time, inside the stadium during Super Bowl LII. Fans will get a digital photo or gif to share on social media.

At the Super Bowl Experience, visitors to RISE's booth also will be able to meet NFL players and enter a sweepstakes to win signed memorabilia and two Super Bowl tickets. Already, RISE gave out tickets to a high school football player and coach and a police officer in Minnesota.

For the first time, RISE will offer fans at Super Bowl Experience and at Super Bowl LII the opportunity to register to vote at its fan activation booth through RISE's nonpartisan voter registration campaign, RISE to Vote. RISE to Vote began in June 2017 as a pilot project with the Miami Dolphins and launched a year-long national campaign in September 2017 aiming to register as many professional athletes as possible to vote and encourage them to spread the important message of voting to their fans. A recent $200,000 grant from Democracy Fund Voice has allowed RISE to expand its voter registration initiative to college campuses and through fan-focused events, such as the Super Bowl.

The Dolphins announced in early December that every player on their roster had been registered to vote, thanks to the RISE to Vote project.

The Super Bowl activities will culminate a productive year for RISE, which was founded in 2015 by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross as a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Headquartered in New York, RISE in fall 2017 opened its second regional office, at Hard Rock Stadium serving 14 Southern states. RISE also has a Midwest office in Detroit.

In 2017, the Dolphins again had CommUNITY Tailgates at Hard Rock Stadium before home games, had player ride-alongs with the Broward Sheriff's Office and the North Miami Police Department, gave out weekly RISE awards to youth and high school players and coaches and moms, and had the first RISE High School Roundtable in the Dolphins locker room at Hard Rock Stadium where students from three local high schools gathered with Dolphins players and law enforcement officials to address various social justice issues.

RISE has been active in 24 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. RISE plans to be in all 50 states by the end of 2020.

For information about RISE, visit www.risetowin.org.

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