The Oakland Raiders – FB Marcel Reece WR Rod Streater, CB Taiwan Jones, P Marquette King and LS Jon Condo – participated in the first ever We Day California, celebrating youth’s commitment to community service on a local and global scale.
Aproduct of the Free the Children organization, We Day is an event that requires students to earn a ticket through participation in one local initiative and one global initiative to help make the world a better place. These actions include raising money to build schools around the world, provide clean drinking water, collecting food for local communities, and more.
“We believe that through service, students will develop the skills to succeed for the rest of their lives,” said Free the Children co-founder Craig Kielburger.
We Day events have occurred in cities across Canada, in Seattle, and in the United Kingdom. We Day at Oracle Arena was the first in the state of California. “So 16,000 students are in attendance.
They come from 420 schools today,” explained Kielburger. “[They are from] 127 school districts, so 40 percent of those students are South-Cal and 60 percent North-Cal that are with us.”
The event brought together entertainers, athletes, philanthropists and business owners, who took the time to thank the students in attendance for their hard work in community service.
Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was one of the first speakers to take the stage.King challenged the students to decide how they will live their lives.
“My father used to say that in life you must decide whether you want to be a thermometer or a thermostat,” he said. “See, a thermometer is a great device, but all it does is record temperature. There’s another device called a thermostat and it regulates the temperature. And what I’m saying to you is in life, you must decide if you’re going to be like a thermometer or a thermostat. Whether you’re going to record what happens or whether you’re going to be part of regulating what happens in your life.
Award-winning actor Martin Sheen also addressed the crowd, expressing his gratitude to those in attendance for the actions they are taking to change the world.
By your presence here today, you are not typical or average young people who see things and ask, ‘why?’ You are dreaming things that never were and saying, ‘why not?’” he told the students.
Raiders players also addressed the crowd and participated in the various activities with the youth.
“It was an honor to be on stage at We Day,” said Wide Receiver Rod Streater. “I take pride in giving back to the community. To see so many people there who have given back to the community too is amazing.”
Magic Johnson is a We Day co-chair and has been active in helping motivate, empower and inspire students and said he was a big Raider fan.
“..I used to have season tickets. So Al Davis was a great friend, great man. It’s nice that all of us are getting involved, giving back,” Johnson said. “When you think about Free the Children, We Day, this is what it’s all about. These kids are really happy the Raiders are here, that I’m a part of it, and it’s really great.”