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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Jul 2, 2018

Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end—as well as a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change-maker. He’s also been called one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, a trait that shines as he joins us to share excerpts from his book Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. He offered a deep examination of turbulent times in America and their effect on the relationships of black athletes with powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL. Bennett turned a critical eye on problems of racism and police violence unfolding in the public eye, and explored avenues for community action. He advocated for the critical role of protest in history and highlighted the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice. Join Bennett and Thiel for an evening equal parts memoir and manifesto, humorous and urgent—athlete and activist.

Michael Bennett played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 and again from 2013 to 2017. Bennett played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2012, and he currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. He has gained international recognition for his public support for the Black Lives Matter movement, women’s rights, and other activist and social justice causes. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root, was the Seattle Seahawks nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and was honored along with his brother Martellus with a BET Shine a Light award for exceptional service. Bennett donates all of his endorsement money and the proceeds from his jersey sales to fund health and education projects for poor and underserved youth and minority communities, and recently expanded his reach globally to support STEM programming in Africa.

Art Thiel has been illuminating, agitating, and amusing Puget Sound sports readers for a long time. He has served as a sports commentator for nearly 30 years in the area, writing for the Bellevue Journal-American, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Tacoma News Tribune, and others. His radio commentaries can be heard Friday and Saturday mornings and Friday afternoon on KPLU-FM 88.9. He is the co-founder of Sports Press Northwest, and author of the regional-bestselling book Out of Left Field, as co-author of The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists, Russell Wilson: Standing Tall, and Resurgence: How Sounders FC Roared Back to Win MLS Cup.
Recorded live at Temple De Hirsch Sinai by Town Hall Seattle on Monday, June 18, 2018.