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.

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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:

EQUALITY Air Force 1 Low / August 28, 1963: On this day, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The hangtag includes “created equal” cymatics on one side and “I Have a Dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.” written on the other. The shoe launches January 15.

Air Force 1 High BHM: This is the first time this type of printing has been done on an Air Force 1. It will be available February 1.

Air Vapormax Flyknit BHM / August 20, 1993: The day Gail Devers broke boundaries by earning gold for winning the IAAF 100-meter World Championship title in Stuttgart, thus cementing a commemorative moment for women in sport. Her record still stands today. The shoe will be available February 1.

Air Jordan 1 Flyknit BHM / November 22, 2016: The day (which is printed on the insole) Michael Jordan was rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor that celebrates extraordinary individuals who have pushed for progress — from President Barack Obama. The shoe will be available February 1.

EQUALITY Tee: It comes in black with gold lettering and white with gold lettering. It will be available in men’s, women’s and kids’ sizing on January 15. Additionally, an EQUALITY hat and socks will also release this day.

KDX BHM / May 6, 2104: The day Kevin Durant gave his MVP speech, where he said, “I’d like to thank God for changing my life and letting me really realize what life is all about. Basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people.” That speech, where he talked about how he came from meager beginnings and credited his mother with making him who he is today, is recognized as one of the most impactful MVP speeches of all time because it focused more on community than his accomplishments. The shoe will be worn by NBA players on court on January 15 as well as throughout the month of February. It will be available January 15.

Kyrie 4 BHM: Kyrie Irving didn’t want a date on his BHM shoe. That’s because he says he doesn’t want to look at the past. He wants to change and inspire the future. The shoe will be worn by NBA players on court in January and throughout the month of February. It will be available in men’s and kids’ sizes January 15. 

LeBron XV BHM / July 13, 2016: The date of the 2016 ESPYs, where LeBron James publically called his fellow athletes to action, prompting them to use their fame to heal a country divided by racism, injustice and gun violence. "Speak up. Use our influence. And renounce all violence,” he said. "We all have to do better." The shoe will be worn by NBA players on court on January 15 as well as throughout the month of February. It will be available in men’s and kids’ sizes January 15.      

Air Jordan I High EQUALITY: Carmelo Anthony has been very vocal in his fight against social injustice. His love for the city of Baltimore and the work he has done for that community inspired this shoe. It will be available January 15.

For more information overall on Nike’s EQUALITY campaign click here.
To Shop The Nike EQUALITY BHM Collection, click above or browse below.


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