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December 10, 2020

By Ian Cutler

LOS ANGELES - Celebrating the third year of RISE with the Rams, Rams Offensive Lineman TREMAYNE ANCHRUM JR. and Safety JUJU HUGHES will wear custom cleats to support RISE and its mission to end racism and unite diverse communities as part of the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats initiative.

Anchrum Jr. and Hughes, and the Rams' Director of Player Engagement JACQUES McCLENDON, will sport RISE-themed cleats and sneakers to promote a message of unity and racial equity when the team takes the field against the New England Patriots on Thursday, Dec. 10 at SoFi Stadium.

RISE with the Rams is a season-long leadership and community building program that features LA-area high school football teams. The collaboration is designed to harness the unifying power of sports and build relationships between high school football teams with a cross-section of races and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The program features monthly touchpoints from September to December that are geared to build leadership, understanding, acceptance and cultural competency for student-athletes, coaches, LAPD officers and Rams players. This year's workshops have featured discussions on identity, bias, perspective taking and civic engagement to empower participants to be leaders in their communities, bring people together, and promote equity and inclusion.

Anchrum Jr. and Hughes have both participated in the program this season.

"I wanted to support an organization that's making a meaningful impact in the community," said Anchrum. "I like what RISE is doing with our youth and this was a great opportunity to shine a light on their efforts. People want to see change and RISE has been providing resources, time and effort to be catalysts of change in our communities."

Said Hughes: "It's encouraging to see how RISE has deeply invested in making a difference, starting with our youth. I had a great experience participating in the Rise with the Rams program, and their message supports effort and action to make positive changes in our society."

Students and coaches from Calabasas High School, Eagle Rock High School, Inglewood High School, Lincoln High School and Notre Dame High School are participating in the program this season. Since 2018, the Rams and RISE have engaged 11 high school football teams located throughout the greater LA region in the RISE with the Rams program.

"I'm thankful to work for an organization like the Los Angeles Rams, that collectively understands the urgency of these important conversations," said McClendon. "Living in Los Angeles, which is nearly 60 percent black and brown, provides us a unique opportunity. Our partnership with RISE has expanded every year and provided transformational conversations and relationships to help tear down socio-economic and racial barriers through crucial conversations. As our General Manager Les Snead said has previously said, 'Football should enhance humanity.' As an organization, and through our continued partnership with RISE, we are ready to carry the torch together."

After the game on Dec. 10, cleats worn by Rams players will be available for auction to support each of the causes they represent. RISE is a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.

"We have to be willing to engage in difficult conversations and take intentional action to address systemic racism and inequity," said RISE CEO DIAHANN BILLINGS-BURFORD. "RISE with the Rams provides the safe space to have these conversations, and creates opportunities for a diverse group of students, players and officers to interact with each other and work towards the common goal of creating a more unified community. The Rams are deeply invested in achieving that goal and we're excited to have Tremayne, JuJu and Jacques represent RISE for My Cause, My Cleats to showcase the powerful impact of our work together."

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