Michael Bennett with Jesse Hagopian

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Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end—as well as a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change-maker. He’s also been called one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, a trait that shines when he joined us to share excerpts from his book Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. He offered a deep examination of turbulent times in America and their effect on the relationships of black athletes with powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL. Bennett turned a critical eye on problems of racism and police violence unfolding in the public eye, and explored avenues for community action. He advocated for the critical role of protest in history and highlights the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice. Join Bennett for an evening equal parts memoir and manifesto, humorous and urgent—athlete and activist.

Michael Bennett played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 and again from 2013 to 2017. Bennett played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2012, and he currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. He has gained international recognition for his public support for the Black Lives Matter movement, women’s rights, and other activist and social justice causes. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root, was the Seattle Seahawks nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and was honored along with his brother Martellus with a BET Shine a Light award for exceptional service. Bennett donates all of his endorsement money and the proceeds from his jersey sales to fund health and education projects for poor and underserved youth and minority communities, and recently expanded his reach globally to support STEM programming in Africa.

Jesse Hagopian teaches Ethnic Studies and is the co-adviser to the Black Student Union at Garfield High School. Jesse is an editor for the social justice periodical Rethinking Schools is the co-editor for the forthcoming book, Teaching for Black Lives, and is the editor of the book, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing. In 2015, Jesse received the Seattle/King County NAACP Service Award, was named as an Education Fellow to The Progressive magazine, as well as a “Cultural Freedom Fellow” for the Lannan Foundation for his nationally recognized work in promoting critical thinking and opposing high-stakes testing.

Recorded live at Seattle First Baptist Church by Town Hall Seattle on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

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