In 2001 the Rams played an instrumental role in the founding of the Diversity Awareness Partnership and since then have continued numerous efforts to promote diversity in the greater St. Louis area. On Tuesday, October 16, the Rams continued their relationship with the Diversity Awareness Partnership and unveiled a new poster and billboard series designed to promote the value of differences among members of the St. Louis community.
In order to do so, the Rams and the Diversity Awareness Partnership called upon three of the team’s most recognizable faces. Gracing the poster are quarterback
“Our intent with this poster was to promote very visible diversity,” Diversity Awareness Partnership executive director Reena Hajat Carroll said. “We talked to members of the Rams staff and said we’d love to do this poster and we’d love to have that very visible racial diversity. We were looking for players who were popular and well-liked, and the Rams suggested Sam, James and Michael. So we were thrilled that those three players agreed to do it.”
Eleven years ago, leaders within the Rams organization identified the need for an entity in the St. Louis region that promoted messages of diversity. Thus, the Diversity Awareness Partnership was born. Since that time, the organization has produced a series of posters featuring members from the three major sports team in St. Louis. The posters, which are made about every three years, have starred famous faces such as Rams great Isaac Bruce and former safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina in addition to former St. Louis Blues defensemen Erik Johnson and Bryce Salvador. But this year, Carroll said the Diversity Awareness Partnership focused on a specific set of criteria when it came to selecting the faces of the new poster.
“We thought it was more strategic to have players with long-term commitments in St. Louis that would help elongate our shelf life,” she said.
The evening was a lesson in diversity in itself. Microsoft, another corporate sponsor of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, helped in the creation of the poster and gave a presentation earlier in the program. Guests from a variety of organizations and departments were on hand at the ContinuityX Training Center, some to hear from Microsoft, others to support the Diversity Awareness Partnership. But everyone in attendance received the message championed by the Diversity Awareness Partnership.
“It was a great cross-section of people that don’t typically get together,” Carroll said. “I mean, diversity directors and IT directors don’t usually find themselves in the same space, so it was a great opportunity to promote inclusivity.”
On hand to unveil the new poster happened to be one of the stars of the series – Michael Brockers. The Rams’ 2012 first round draft pick opened by giving a speech on the importance of diversity highlighting his excitement to be involved in the poster series and then went into his revealing act. After photos were taken and hands were shaken, Brockers signed autographs for those in attendance. As Carroll said, Brockers’ presence helped take the event to another level. And the overall support shown by the Rams has been instrumental in spreading the Diversity Awareness Partnership’s message.
“Sports teams, and the Rams in particular, can really be a conduit to bringing people together,” Carroll said. “So we’re just excited to leverage the influence that the Rams have for promoting diversity in the region.”
In addition to the posters, two billboards with the diversity message will be visible to St. Louis commuters. The billboards are a horizontal version of the poster and are currently displayed along eastbound I-64/40 near Compton Avenue and along northbound I-170 near Page Avenue.
The Rams and the Diversity Awareness Partnership are committed to encouraging diversity and inclusivity in the St. Louis community. That common goal has forged a strong relationship over the past 11 years.
“We really value the same things,” Carroll said. “The Rams have had a history of valuing diversity and inclusion. And they have shown that intentionality for diversity in a number of ways – with their players, their ownership, having a female owner and supporting us, and organizations like ours in the community.”
To order your free diversity poster, contact the Diversity Awareness Partnership at 314-246-3142 or by emailing Abby Raesly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Diversity Awareness Partnership, visit www.dapstl.org.