For centuries, sport has served as a catalyst to bring people together, fuel rivalries and foster inspiration. Sport also has the power to bring awareness to important social issues that impact communities all over the world. Atlanta Falcons Owner, Arthur M. Blank has always leaned into these important conversations knowing more must be done to unify our communities and use our collective voices for good. As Blank's long-standing core values state, our collective voice and our platforms should be used for positive change.
Atlanta is a special place, where our similarities as well as our differences ultimately create a common bond. The birthplace of the civil rights movement, Atlanta continues to be at the center of conversation around diversity and supporting social justice and racial equality has been at the core of Blank's commitment to Atlanta for decades.
In 2017, Blank and Head Coach Dan Quinn engaged players in dialogue geared toward addressing these critical issues and creating a positive impact in the city of Atlanta. With Blank's support, Falcons players created a social justice committee to identify issues most important to them and to put a plan together toward progress.
The vast majority of our Falcons players, coaches and staff are registered voters, an organization-wide priority for more than 15 years and continuing as a standard protocol when a player comes to our organization. This season, the Falcons player-led social justice committee has made voter awareness an even bigger priority.
"This isn't the time to sit on the sidelines, you must use your voice and vote." says Falcons quarterback, Matt Ryan.
"In the spirit of one of our core values, Lead By Example, we are very proud that so many of our players are equally passionate about voting and democracy." said Rich McKay, president, Atlanta Falcons.
Thursday, Aug. 6 marks the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which was intended to outlaw discriminatory voting practices in the South and protect the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Our dear friend, the late Congressman John Lewis fought to make that a reality and said, "The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it." Something we should all remember during this important time.
The Falcons along with the entire Blank Family of Businesses will be working on a holistic initiative to focus on all aspects of the voting process: registration, education and participation. We will be partnering with Rock The Vote, the most trusted and effective nonpartisan nonprofit organization focusing on voter awareness, and continuing to provide information on how to get involved.
"Taking this moment and making it a movement, not just as a race, a community or a team, but as a nation… it's time to stand up, rise up and vote," says Steven Means, defensive end, Atlanta Falcons.
In the coming weeks, you'll learn more about what the Falcons will be doing to engage our season ticket members, our fans and our communities to use their voice, be heard, and most important, Rise Up & Vote!
For more information, click here.
The Atlanta Falcons