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#HuddleUpAmerica Event Took Place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

#HuddleUpAmerica Event Took Place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

09/19/2018
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently hosted the first #HuddleUpAmerica event. Launched by the Hall last fall, #HuddleUpAmerica is a campaign focused on lessons and values learned from the game of football and how they apply to life. The campaign is a way to positively impact the lives of others and better understand that despite our differences, there isn’t anything our country can’t work through together if we “huddle up” with respect for each other, listen to each other and talk it through together.  
 
The Hall of Fame, in collaboration with Amer-I-Can and RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality), were developing concepts for programming. Along a parallel path, several northeast Ohio community-based organizations connected with the Hall of Fame with the hope of doing something within the community to help improve race relations and foster an open dialogue. These organizations include the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Greater Stark County Urban League, Stark County NAACP, and the Faith Based Initiative. Ultimately, the efforts merged and resulted in first #HuddleUpAmerica event at the Hall of Fame.

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President CEO David Baker closing huddle up America conference with action pledge  

This event took place on Thursday, Sept. 14, when more than 100 local youth and 36 members of law enforcement from across the state of Ohio came together at the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the goal of “improving relations between our community’s youth and law enforcement.”
 
The day included two hours of pre-event activities followed by a team dinner and concluded with a 90-minute Town Hall. The activities consisted of on-field football drills, team building activities, and a hands-on activity led by leaders from RISE called “breaking down barriers.” These activities allowed the youth and law enforcement to get to know each other, learn to trust each other, and to be vulnerable as they discussed real life issues and struggles they were each facing.
 
That evening, youth and members of law enforcement joined local community leaders at a Town Hall led by the Hall’s President & CEO David Baker. The Town Hall featured Hall of Famer Jim Brown and his wife Monique Brown who discussed their organization Amer-I-Can and their social justice work. Baker led a panel consisting of Perry Township (Ohio) Chief Mike Pomesky, Canton City Police Officer LaMar Sharpe and Andrew Mac Intosh from RISE. The panelists discussed topics related to equality and social justice as well as answered questions from the youth in attendance.
 
Additionally, co-authors, Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins, of the true story Convicted took part in a discussion with Baker about their past and path to forgiveness. From Benton, Mich., former police officer Collins falsified a report which led to a conviction and prison sentence for McGee. Collins was later convicted of falsifying police reports and sentenced to prison which in return set McGee free as he was an innocent man. Several years later their paths crossed which allowed for forgiveness and an unlikely friendship.
 
At the conclusion of the Town Hall, the audience stood and took this pledge:
“To serve humanity and social justice;
Examine and challenge my beliefs and prejudices;
Be open to other cultures and ethnicities;
Follow the Values of Commitment, Respect Integrity, Courage and Excellence;
Starting today and every day thereafter.”
 
Efforts continue for future programs and events as all the organizations involved build off the success and positive comments received from the kickoff #HuddleUpAmerica event.
 
HOF CHANNEL: Watch #HuddleUpAmerica program held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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