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SEATTLE, WASH. Sounders FC and its official charitable partner **RAVE Foundation** today announced that the club is joining the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an annual celebration that commemorates the life and work of Dr. King, a prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. As part of the national holiday celebration, NAAM will re-open its doors to the public – after a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic – this Monday, January 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. Monday’s in-person program features a variety of activities including a collaborative free “Books & Balls” giveaway for the first 100 youth in attendance beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT. This special giveaway event features the distribution of children’s books centering Black characters, written by Black authors and illustrated by Black artists, along with a high-quality soccer ball courtesy of RAVE Foundation. In addition to the giveaway, Sounders FC and RAVE Foundation will host a soccer playtime activity that focuses on physical movement. The museum is located at 2300 S. Massachusetts Street, Seattle, Washington, 98144.

RAVE Foundation’s gift of new soccer balls to pair with NAAM-curated books reflects the club’s belief in in defending the right to play by removing barriers for all youth.

This is not the first time Sounders FC, RAVE Foundation and NAAM have celebrated MLK Day together. In 2021 and 2022, both organizations came together to host special “Books & Balls” giveaway events throughout the year in support to NAAM’s mission to make our region a more equitable place for all through anti-racist education and the power of cultural literacy. NAAM’s curated children’s books by Black authors and artists seek to not only help reflect personal experiences and reaffirm value for Black youth, but also allow all children to become familiar with diverse characters and storylines while enjoying a new book.

More information on Monday’s celebration, including a full schedule, can be found **HERE.**

In addition to Monday’s festivities in Seattle, the Rave Green are excited to participate alongside the Yakima School District in the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Walk organized by Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Washington featuring former Sounder and current team Brand Ambassador Brad Evans and Seattle-based muralist, digital illustrator, and entrepreneur Teddy Phillips, better known to fans as “Stat the Artist.” The walk is scheduled to start at 12:00 p.m. PT in Downtown Yakima (N. 5th Avenue & MLK Jr. Boulevard) and end at the Yakima Convention Center (10 N. 8th Street, Yakima, WA 98901). Sounders FC, RAVE Foundation and Phillips will reveal a large banner to mark the start of the walk, featuring a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. designed by Phillips that will be displayed on the Yakima School District administrative headquarters in perpetuity.

The full program also includes a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration starting at 1:00 p.m. PT at the Yakima Convention Center right after the walk. The celebratory ceremony features special guests and speakers including Evans and Phillips. Evans will announce a new RAVE Foundation mini-pitch scheduled in Yakima School District later this year. The mini-pitch will feature a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. on the field’s center circle created by Phillips. The renowned artist will also speak about his inspiration to represent portraits of historical black figures in his art, and the experience he gained growing up in Montgomery, Alabama which informs his work today.

Evans and Phillips will be onsite immediately following the event to assist volunteers in distributing free children’s books and soccer balls to the first 100 youth who attend.

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary is a public elementary school in the Yakima School District. The school enrolls 601 students in grades first through 12th. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary is the 200th largest public school in Washington.

This year, the club and RAVE Foundation are also partnering with Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Washington, a Yakima-based non-profit organization with a mission to help unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and racism so all people can live with greater human dignity through community services, economic development and affordable housing to residents of Washington State.

To further support RAVE’s efforts and to learn more about the club’s long-term commitment to social justice, visit RaveFoundation.org and/or SoundersFC.com/Social-Impact.

Media interested in covering Martin Luther King Jr.’s events should RSVP with Gisselle Pichardo of Sounders FC Communications [**GisselleP@SoundersFC.com**].

- SOUNDERS FC -

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