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Seattle Mariners All-Star pitcher Felix Hernandez and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Macklemore are joining forces with Seattle area middle schools to help foster a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Hernandez and Macklemore launched the #ChangeTheGame campaign on April 10 at Safeco Field by surprising a group of students from Highland Middle School in Bellevue, Washington. The students were brought to Safeco Field to be part of an anti-bullying public service announcement with the Mariner Moose. Then, after a few shots with Moose, Hernandez and Macklemore unexpectedly appeared from the dug out to film the PSA with the students.
"Only together we can change the game and ensure every kid's right to a safe school, free from bullying and intimidation," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "Felix Hernandez and Macklemore show the power of celebrating differences and treating others with kindness. The Department of Justice is proud to partner with the Seattle Mariners and community organizations, and thank them for their leadership in working to "Change the Game" and promote safe and healthy schools."
In the PSA, the two superstars from sports and music talk about how they may look different than most people, whether it is their haircuts or the clothes they wear, but just because someone is different doesn’t mean they should be teased or bullied. They ask students to “be kind, stay positive, and support each other,” and to sign an anti-bullying pledge. The PSA ends with the line, “Together, we can change the game.” The 30-second PSA will be distributed to radio and TV stations throughout Western Washington.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe at their school. I hope kids will hear our message and treat each other with respect and kindness,” said Hernandez.
"It's an honor to be working with the Mariners and Felix Hernandez to help spread a message of individuality to our area schools. We hope to encourage our youth to feel free to be themselves and to take care of each other along the way," said Macklemore.
The campaign also consists of an education component for Seattle-area middle schools with posters and activity guides for teachers, as well as online resources at mariners.com/changethegame to provide students, teachers and parents tools to help address the issue of bullying in schools. Parents can help their children complete the activities and take the anti-bullying pledge to be entered into a contest to meet Hernandez and Macklemore prior to the Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees game on Thursday, June 12, which is Macklemore Bobblehead Night at Safeco Field.
Partnering with the Mariners on the campaign are the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center; Committee for Children; U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, and DOJ’s Community Relations Service; and Copacino+Fujikado.