For many people of color, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holds a bittersweet sentiment. For me, personally, the holiday has become largely ceremonial - albeit absolutely necessary. Honoring Dr. King, his legacy, and the work he died for is essential to our culture. It's a reminder of the kind of faith and perserverence it takes to actually create change in the world. Conversely, it is also a reminder of how little the needle has moved, especially in regards to policy implementation, wealth gaps, and race relations, since Dr. King's infamous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. While Dr. King's dreams of equality and justice for all aren't as bleak or out of reach as they were in 1963, 2018 finds us facing a similar struggle and an opposition that seems to get more blatant and more disrespectful with every news cycle.
One thing we're grateful for though, are the brands we champion that understand the importance of community, the power of a rallying cry, and how necessary it is to cling to the belief that real change can be found in things that naturally bring us together. Almost a full year after unveiling it's EQUALITY campaign and the accompanying Black History Month nod to excellence, Nike is back, this time on MLK Day, to again remind us all that real victory is achieved when we all win.
Today, Nike unveiled two new EQUALITY films – featuring LeBron James and Marshall High School basketball coach Dorothy Gaters out of Chicago. The films are centered on using Nike’s massive marketing voice and power of sport to inspire people to take action in their communities while highlighting just how sport brings people together like no other. Nike will continue to shine a spotlight on unsung heroes in the community who are making a difference and bringing people together.
Gaters is the winningest basketball coach in Illinois High School Association, with more than 20 state tournament appearances, 8 Illinois state titles, 7x state association of Illinois coach of the year awards and a gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1986.
Nike also partnered with Coach Gaters during her annual MLK Dream Classic basketball tournament by outfitting teams in the tournament with EQUALITY apparel and select footwear for the tournament. See more from the tourney below:
Another way Nike is supporting equality for all is with its 2018 EQUALITY and Black History Month (BHM) apparel and footwear collections, which celebrates black heritage around the world by fueling community action to create positive change. Just last week we showed you a few images of the Nike Vapormax BHM and now, you can feast your eyes on the full collection.
One thing I love about this particualar collection (aside from the aesthetics - because, some of these are FIRE) is Nike's taking the opportunity to tie each shoe to a moment in Black history. From Martin Luther King's 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech to Gail Dever's 1993 World Championship title, The Swoosh pays special attention to achievement and determination in the face of adversity. This is the mark of a true champion.
See more of the collection, and read the stories behind each, below:
For more information overall on Nike’s EQUALITY campaign click here.
To Shop The Nike EQUALITY BHM Collection, click above or browse below.