Last week, Stand Together and the Portland Timbers teamed up with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) for two unique social justice workshops in Hillsboro and Portland. Club community ambassador Jack Jewsbury, and T2 player Josh Phillips, joined middle and high school students from each community, Hillsboro and Portland Police officers as well as representatives from respective local parks and recreation department and school districts to discuss identity, diversity, perceptions of one’s self and others, and building stronger communities.
The two workshops were designed to build leadership skills of perspective taking, as well as provide an opportunity for participants to explore their diverse identities and reflect on what it means to be a leader on a team and within their school and community.
“RISE was proud to work with the Portland Timbers to provide our leadership programming to students and law enforcement in Portland and Hillsboro,” said Kim Miller, RISE’s vice president, leadership & education programs.
RISE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Through educational programming and public awareness campaigns, RISE aims to spark enduring action. As an organization that celebrates diversity and inclusion, with athletes from over 25 countries, partnering with RISE to support issues surroundings social justice was an important collaboration for Stand Together to help promote respect, empathy and equality.
Each workshop utilized interactive exercises for participants to define key terms (race, ethnicity, diversity), reflect on how they define and value themselves, and discover shared values with others. In addition, the workshops facilitated a dialogue between youth and officers about the stereotypes of each group, and how to break down barriers to create a stronger community.
“We saw the youth open up to one another and the officers,” said Miller. “When the students were sharing what they learned, it was promising to hear the overarching sentiment that ‘officers are normal people, too.’”
To learn more about the work of RISE in the community, visit http://www.risetowin.org/.