Sounders FC today announced its continuing partnership with the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), as the club’s official charitable arm, RAVE Foundation, joins with NAAM to celebrate Martin Luther King Day with“Books & Balls,” a special drive-through giveaway event for the region’s youth featuring the distribution of Black-centered children’s books and high-quality soccer balls.
This Monday, January 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT, families are encouraged to come by the drive-through event, which is being held at the Amy Yee Tennis Center (2000 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle, WA). Former Sounders FC captain Brad Evans will be onsite from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT assisting volunteers in distributing the free children’s books and soccer balls to those who attend.
The event supports the Rave Green’s “We Are All Sounders” social justice framework launched last summer, as the club continues to strive to create a stronger and more equitable community.
“This partnership with Sounders FC means so much to the Northwest African American Museum in advancing the idea that knowledge is truly power,” said NAAM Executive Director LaNesha DeBardelaben. “Together, we can make our region a more equitable place for all through anti-racist education and the power of cultural literacy. This partnership gets us closer to equity, one book and one ball at a time.”
“A critical part of Sounders FC’s social justice framework is working in collaboration with experts. Early on, we identified NAAM as a key organization fighting racism in our community,” said Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Legal & External Affairs Maya Mendoza-Exstrom. “We look forward to growing a long-term partnership with NAAM and the joint Books & Balls program is a great start. We’re thrilled to use Sounders FC’s platform to amplify NAAM’s mission to bring cultural literacy and empowerment to Puget Sound families, while also providing an outlet for physical activity by introducing local youth to the power of owning their own soccer ball.”
This marks the second such event that RAVE Foundation and NAAM have partnered in, with the first Books & Balls giveaway occurring last month. NAAM has curated children’s books by Black authors and artists that seek to not only help reflect personal experiences and reaffirm value for Black youth, but also allow all children to become familiar with diverse characters and storylines while enjoying a new book.
RAVE Foundation’s gift of new soccer balls to pair with the books reflects RAVE’s belief in removing barriers to participation in soccer and sport for all children and that the right to play – regardless of race, income, ability or where you live – is a human right.
To further support RAVE’s efforts and to learn more, visit RaveFoundation.org.
In addition to Monday’s drive-through giveaway, NAAM is also hosting a virtual King Day celebration from 11:00 a.m. PT to 4:00 p.m. PT. The virtual program features a variety of activities, including local community leaders reading children’s books from 11:30 a.m. PT to 12:30 p.m. PT. One scheduled reader is former Sounder and current broadcaster Steve Zakuani, reading “Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles” written by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Ebony Glenn.
The full program schedule also includes civil rights trivia with Sounders FC prizes and a keynote address by Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Princeton University and MSNBC and Meet the Press commentator.
All are welcome to tune into the free, virtual event. Donations are encouraged to support NAAM's Knowledge is Power Book Fund. More information, including a full schedule, can be found at NAAMNW.org/King-Day.