NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 7, 2017 – The New York Liberty will partner with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to host a Unity Game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Aug. 20, when it plays host to the Minnesota Lynx.
“It was a proud moment for the New York Liberty franchise, last season when our players used their platforms as professional athletes and role models, to stand together and speak up for equality and criminal justice reform,” said Liberty Team President Isiah Thomas. “Our Unity Game is borne out of a desire to have continued dialogue, work towards developing solutions to extremely complex issues, and strive to bring our communities closer together.”
“The New York Liberty exemplifies what it means to be leaders in sports, using their platform as athletes and as an organization to stand up and take action to address important societal issues,” said Jocelyn Benson, RISE CEO. “We at RISE are proud to work so closely with a team that models our mission of harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. With this Unity Game, RISE and the Liberty are taking tangible steps toward creating real positive change.”
The unity theme will be reflected in programming throughout the day, including a panel discussion, concourse activations, fan giveaways, and community outreach.
Prior to tipoff, the Liberty and RISE will host a panel discussion from 1-2:30 PM in the Madison Square Garden Theater lobby, featuring a diverse group of athletes, law enforcement officials, and community activists, with a goal of developing a solution-oriented agenda focusing on creating positive change in the community.
The panel will feature – Kristen Clarke, president & executive director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Ambassador Shabazz – diplomat, professor, consultant, lecturer; Chief Juanita Holmes – NYPD; William Rhoden – sports journalist, writer-at-large for The Undefeated; Sue Wicks – New York Liberty legend; Tanisha Wright – New York Liberty veteran.
Although space will be limited, the pregame panel is open to the public through a single-game ticket offer, in addition to select New York Liberty season ticket holders, and Garden of Dreams Foundation partners with high school aged students.
On Sunday, Aug. 13, teammates of Mount Vernon basketball standout Shamoya McKenzie, who died tragically at the age of 13 when she was struck by a stray bullet this past New Year’s Eve, will participate in a RISE leadership seminar at The Garden. Those students will also be invited to attend the Unity Game on the 20th.
In the moments leading up to the game, the New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx players will lock arms in a show of solidarity on court during the performance of the national anthem.
On the concourse, the RISE signature photo booth “It Takes All Colors” will be available to fans, and the NYPD will table to recruit for academy applicants and open administration roles on the police force.
Immediately after the game, officers from the 10th precinct will compete in a fantasy game on The Garden floor against youth from Covenant House, a Garden of Dreams Foundation partner that serves homeless youth.
Additionally, the 1st 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a Liberty and RISE co-branded silicone bracelet, featuring the hashtags #ShowUpforEquality and #SidelineRacism.
Tickets for the New York Liberty Unity Game are on sale now, and can be purchased on NYLiberty.com, TicketMaster.com, or The Garden Box Office.