NFL star Zack Banner to host virtual Athletes Against Antisemitism event

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Co-hosting will be Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell and Israeli-American Washington Mystics basketball player Alysha Clark.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner (72) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on December 8, 2019.. (photo credit: MARK J. REBILAS-USA TODAY SPORTS)

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner (72) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on December 8, 2019..

(photo credit: MARK J. REBILAS-USA TODAY SPORTS)

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Zach Banner, Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell and Israeli-American Washington Mystics basketball player Alysha Clark will host Athletes Against Antisemitism, a virtual event to combat antisemitism and promote racial justice and unity.

The event will be moderated by Dr. Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, from the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

The event is a two-part conversation, according to the event’s Eventbrite description. The first part will focus on the Pittsburgh community, with Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life synagogue with JasiriX, a hip hop artist and activist, participating. The second part is set to feature Banner alongside Bell and Clark to discuss athlete activism.

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In July, Banner posted an emotional video defending the Jewish community and detailing how the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting affected him – especially as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, Banner has worked to create unity between the Black and Jewish communities in Pittsburgh.

Banner announced the event over Twitter. In response, the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue, which was the scene of the shooting, replied over Twitter that they will see him there.

The event follows instances where several high-profile athletes have gotten involved in condemning racial inequality. Most famously, Colin Kaepernick, a former football player for the San Francisco 49ers, took the knee for the National Anthem in protest of racial inequality and police brutality. At the time, in 2016, reactions were mixed and he was ultimately fired, but public perception changed in 2020 during the protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officers.

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