BPC Limited Edition I – The Black Out Collection x Participation Trophy Studio
Black Players For Change brings you our first charitable fundraiser sweepstakes! With an exclusive drop of 8 limited edition customized jerseys celebrating Black History Month available via randomized sweepstakes- 100% of proceeds being donated.
The Black Out Collection is a representation of 2020.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
***THE SWEEPSTAKES WINDOW HAS CLOSED***
HOW TO ENTER:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
There are four (4) different ways to enter the Sweepstakes.
- Every dollar spent on BPC’s branded merchandise earns three times (3x) entries into the Sweepstakes.
- Every dollar donated to BPC’s directly earns two times (2x) entries into the sweepstakes. (*enter donation below)
- Every dollar spent on one of BPC’s participating partner products earns one (1x) entry.
- Since no purchase is necessary, earn fifty (50) entries by filling out our google form here.
There is no limit to your number of entries. Choose one way or even choose all four! The more you buy or donate, the greater chance you have to win one of these historic pieces.
The window for donations and purchases on the BPC and partners store opens Friday February 26th and closes on March 7th
Sweepstakes winners will be randomly selected and announced daily on all BPC social media platforms: March 9th – March 16th
Donate below and/or purchase and enter to win today:
The Black Out Collection was inspired by our collective and individual experience and stories of 2020. It is the culmination of our experiences both inside and outside of the league. A physical representation of struggle, support, unity and every emotion in between.
WHY BLACK OUT?
We decided to take our jerseys and black them out as a representation of our presence in the league and a representation of our presence in the world. It is our way of showing we are here, we have always been here and now you can see how valuable we truly are.
We understand in order to make change we must be unified at all levels. Our branded hashtag #TogetherThereWillBeChange is a reminder to everyone that we are all equally needed in this fight for equity. No one person, or group of people can do this alone. It takes a collective and consistent effort to realize this goal.
Our History is American History.
Quincy Amarikwa – Las Vegas Lights FC
Mark-Anthony Kaye – Los Angeles Football Club
Jeremy Ebobisse – Portland Timbers FC
Earl Edwards Jr – New England Revolution
Sebastien Ibeagha – NYCFC
Sean Johnson – NYCFC
Justin Morrow – Toronto FC
Miles Robinson – Atlanta United
Each exclusive piece has a story of its own. Here’s your chance to enter to win a piece of history while supporting the efforts of some impactful, purposeful, missions driven organizations and individuals
OUR BLACK OUT VOICES
What 2020 showed me was vision and confirmation. That the years I spent in the league speaking up in rooms while others stood silent were worth it. That the feeling of slowly being pushed out the league was true.
Validated by the collective shared experiences of players who were no longer afraid of speaking their truth for fear of the repercussions.
I know my experience fighting for equity for everyone and now I have my brothers, sisters and allies with me.
This jersey to me represents the #frequincy. It’s the physical manifestation that represents my understanding that in those moments when the system was pushing back, I was right to defend my stance because it was injustice I was fighting against, and the people I was fighting for.
It means to me that those in rooms who were mistaking my passion for aggression will look back on those times from a different perspective and see that in those moments I’m fighting for radical transparency, not just to be confrontational, as that word was once used to describe me.
In those rooms and in those moments I’m fighting for the humans at the bottom of the totem pole. The ones who get taken advantage of and the ones who don’t understand how or why it continues to happen. It’s their voices I’m speaking loudly for because I saw nonone else was willing, but as a result of our work over 2020 showed me that to no longer be the case.
I’m thankful and grateful for the experiences I have gathered over the years. They have helped me not only better understand how people can get me wrong, but better understand myself and how I can and will continue to get things wrong as we’re all human.
What this jersey means to me is CHANGE IS HERE.
This jersey is the end of one road AND the start of a thriving, joyful and prosperous new one.
In reflecting my 2020 experience. I was reminded of how important we are as black athletes to use our influence to inspire real and meaningful change. This is the jersey I was going to wear the day we decided as players to boycott our league’s games. I love how this jersey is now blacked out, because that was a day of empowerment for the black players within the league. While also being a show of unity amongst our entire player pool. We wanted to use the opportunity to continue the ever important conversation about racial and social injustice. Never did I think that I would be part of something like that, but it was needed. I’m truly honored and proud to have taken part in such an historic moment. Now that moment is forever encompassed in this jersey. Hopefully we can look back in the future to see it be one of the many catalysts for change within our league, our country and around the world.
The location I chose to take these photos is the Banc of California Stadium. These photos represent dreams. Dreams of those before me. Dreams of those who are with me. As well as dreams of those in the next generation. A big stadium seems like an intimidating place, but seeing it empty you remember that is just another soccer pitch. Remove the noise, the supporters, the boo’s and the cheers…what do you have left? Just a man standing in front of you, who when he was a little boy dreamt big. Dreamt of making it to the big stage and now dreams of making real change. That’s all it is, a stadium, just another opportunity where someone’s dream can come true. That power is within us all. If we harness it we can continue making changes that will set a new foundation for how this world can be. A better, more caring and equal world. That’s my dream. So cherish this jersey, and I hope it gives you the same will, power and strength, it gave me to stand tall in this continued fight for equality.
When I look back on this past year of societal upheaval induced by COVID and amplified by the racial justice movement, my mind immediately scatters around searching for words and emotions to consolidate my personal understanding amid such straining situations. The Blackout Collection is a chance for us to share with you a piece of our story as Black Players for Change; it is a memento that can not only serve as a reminder of just how taxing of a year it was but also of the subtle beauty of a sustained movement towards racial equity growing in our sport. To me, the black tie-dyed top, done in collaboration with Participation Trophy Studio, represents our influence as Black players on our teams, league and sport in galvanizing the people around us to gain deeper understanding of and remedy the inequities that have pervaded our sport and society. My hope is that it serves as a reminder, to those who receive it, that the work is not complete, and that it requires all of us.
Reflecting on my personal story in 2020 and being tasked with picking a location to encapsulate the artistic touch of the jersey, as well as the emotion of the past year, I knew there was one place that would accomplish both. I went straight to Downtown Portland, where through the chaotic nature of the summer, murals and wall art progressively came to encompass entire blocks in the center of Portland. The art was unique to each square inch of canvas, however the commonality among them all was the depiction of the, at times generational, trauma of individuals and communities for the whole city to see. My long, isolated walks from emotionally draining rallies and back to my apartment were continual moments of deep introspection regarding my own journey, as well as my role in the movement. Amid the somber, late nights, I could feel the art yelling at me, as I know it has done to so many others who walked by such poignant expressions. I wanted the holder of this jersey to identify it with this art – not because they have bought into every single drawing or word a given board (I haven’t), but rather as a reminder to challenge beliefs and perceptions while empathizing with plights not always prevalent in one’s life.
Art is one of the most powerful ways to inspire change. Symbols derived from art have the potential to challenge the everyday comfort of one’s world, while planting a seed of a thought that will inspire a movement, in this case towards racial equity. To those of you that I have had the pleasure of sharing a Zoom screen with, you will have often noticed that in my background sits a canvas of Ruby Bridges walking to school – a perpetual motivator telling us that we are never too young to inspire generations of activists. As I pensively walked by the murals of George Floyd and Breeona Taylor, I couldn’t help but feel the constant feeling of grief every time society has allowed yet another Black body to be held up as a martyr, only for limited (if any) change to occur in the aftermath. Yet, somehow I walk on with a vague, minute sense of hope, a sense of hope coming from the numbers and diversity in the streets potentially morphing themselves into coalitions across sectors and industries holding people in power accountable to remedy their inequitable institutions. I take hope in this vision – that together, there will be change.
Earl Edwards Jr.
2020 meant a lot to me because the vast amount of adversity caused some pain, forced me to analyze and reflect, and ultimately helped me grow tremendously. I’ve always had a passion for black history, and studying the black experience in America. More often than not my experiences and research would leave me feeling angry, hurt, and even hopeless at times. While 2020 was heartbreaking in many ways, the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, and the shooting of Jacob Blake provided full transparency of the harsh reality for Black people in America. That transparency ignited a movement that spread throughout the world, and ultimately led to the organization of Black Players for Change. In our brief existence the work we have done has fulfilled me in ways that I never thought was possible. From our protest to start off the MLS is back tournament, our mini-pitch partnership with US Soccer foundation, and the initiatives that we are putting in place with MLS… I know we are making an impact, and this Blackout Collection with Participation Trophy Studio will add to our legacy. By establishing our organization, my frustration and hopelessness has transformed into effort, and energy to make our country a better place for our people. 2020 was a difficult year, but I’m thankful for the hardships because I firmly believe that it will lead to a brighter future.
The Blackout Collection with the BPC and Participation Trophy Studio allowed me to take some time and reflect on everything that has happened in 2020. These pictures were taken in Two Bridges which, to me, presents two phases I believe I’m currently stuck between
The Past: George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, systemic racism, Sandra Bland, Pamela Turner, the list goes on and on. The past represents all the pain, troubles, and hardships that we have had to overcome, or ignore, or accept as a people and a culture.
The Future: Hope. Creating a future that the color of one’s skin does not determine their value as a person. Creating a culture that realizes and accepts that this true equality is not the only way to move forward but the best way.
Being an immigrant has me deeply rooted and stuck in the middle of these two bridges because I saw the sacrifice that my parents went through to bring my family to the US. Seeing that makes me want to push for the future, push for that hope. However, seeing a culture that repeatedly looks down on me because my skin is darker makes me want to cling to that past. Get numb to it all over again but I know that’s not the way.
2020 was a rebirth. A rebirth in my desire to break the barriers that are holding us down. A rebirth to create that hope and to push for future generations so that they don’t have to turn on the news and seeing senseless killings of people that look just like them. I may be currently stuck between those two bridges, but I have all the faith that I will continue to push for the betterment of this world for future generations.
That is what the Blackout Collection means to me.
2020 was a year that really gave me an indication of where we truly are as a nation. However, during these dark times there were many rays of hope that I’m thankful for. The Blackout Collection jersey collaboration presented a unique opportunity to capture so much of the culture, passion, and pain that I’ve experienced over the past year.
Playing in New York City these past three seasons has given me the opportunity to live in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Two Bridges, located on the Hudson in Manhattan, is the location I chose to do the photo shoot. This is symbolic of what I experienced in 2020 with a strong connection between two different parts of a city that are connected by one strong foundation. In a year where much of our country was divided, I also experienced people of all backgrounds coming together in NYC as one to fight for equality and equity for Black people.
My parents were born in Jamaica and moved here at a young age to give me the opportunity to lead a better life than they had. The raw emotion of just thinking about what they sacrificed and seeing some of the hateful and painful events that transpired over the past year has been really difficult to put into words. Up until 2020, my experiences led me to be observant and not to be outspoken in many situations due to the fear of having my voice suppressed or being removed from the room. Coming together with my brothers to form the BPC gave us a unified voice. Most importantly it gave me the ability to speak up and be heard without the fear of consequence knowing I can now stand up for those who are in the same position I was.
To whoever gets to wear this jersey, I hope I’m able to do for you what my parents did for me. I’m committed to knocking down barriers to make this country a more equitable and fair place for you to shine.
Let me tell you about this Jersey. I wore this jersey in our 2019 Eastern Conference Championship game versus Atlanta United. It’s significant to me not because of the outcome, but because of the stories behind the game that night. The stories that often go untold. Atlanta is a tough place to play but I love their crowd. I’ve simply never played in front of that many Black people before. It made me proud to see because it’s a side of the game that so many are still searching for. The culture..they have it.
On top of that, it was my first playoff match against Darlington Nagbe. ‘D’ as we call him. Many don’t know that we both grew up playing in the Cleveland soccer scene. We’ve faced off in high school, college and many times in pro before that. Even won a Gold Cup together in 2017. But in those early days, we were definitely two of the few black kids playing. How did we get here? Are the young black kids in Cleveland fighting the same system we did? For me, it was special to do battle with him that night.
I hope that whomever gets this jersey will wear it as a symbol of pride. Because since that night, Darlington and I, and all the other Black players are fighting together, for you. The next generation. Whether in Cleveland, or Atlanta, or some other unnamed city, if the odds are against you we want you to know that this game is also for you. Black excellence exists in soccer too.
When presented with the chance to represent myself, club and city in this collaboration between Black Players for Change and Participation Trophy Studio, one of my first thoughts, hype aside, was regarding how I would best capture the moment in a city as artistic as Atlanta. The Blackout Collection is a continuation of Black Players for Change’s ongoing effort to promote and inspire coalitions built towards equity, coalitions that we saw here in Atlanta as diverse groups of people marched, rallied and protested all summer in the name of the countless Black men and women killed. Tie dying this jersey black allowed me to continue BPC’s work while sharing a piece of my story with you and highlighting an area of the city that inspired me this past year.
I took this jersey to the Beltline. For those not from this city, there’s few better places than the Beltline to capture the fear, creativity, hope and beauty of Atlanta. At a time when the emotions of this city were at a tipping point, I found comfort and inspiration through the artwork of the Beltline. A city once dubbed the “Black Mecca”, Atlanta has never shied away from expressing itself and culture through the art that dominates the streets. The various portraits, quotes, and murals remind us all that 2020 was not a bump in the journey meant to be put in the rear view, but rather a guiding map of what we must aim for as time continues to pass.
This city is filled with a history and future of Civil Rights giants, but for every MLK Jr, Jon Lewis and Stacey Abrams, there needs to be you and me. The greatest challengers of our times can’t be left to our leaders to solve on their own — they must be propelled by us so that we can give our leaders the strength to enact our vision of unity through equity.