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'Build the Bridge' program brings student athletes together for racial equality discussion at Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton

The program hopes to use football as a vessel for change.

The Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame was the backdrop for a discussion on racial equality, Tuesday.

More than 50 student athletes and more than 20 of their coaches from area high schools came together for what organizers hoped would be a game-changing summit.

“Race is a difficult thing to talk about. That's why we're in the situation we're in now,” explained Damion Creel referring to the country’s current climate.

Through the “Build the Bridge Program,” Kahari Hicks, the program’s creator, and other local coaches hope to use football to bring their student from all walks of life together.

Tuesday’s event including breakout sessions allowing the athletes to share their own stories and collectively brainstorm solutions.

“It really opened up my eyes to see that other people, and other races from other states understand what we're going through, “said A.J. Shorts a student at Brush High School.

Some of the teens shared stories about racial inequality that were unfathomable to others, but their goals and dreams, were very much the same.

“It was surprising to see how alike we all are. And it's good to have these uncomfortable conversations because you need to have them, and a lot of people don't want to have them,” explained Dom Grguric a student at Walsh Jesuit. “You need to have these conversations to change the culture,” he continued.

With everything that's going on in our society right now, it's important that these young people recognize that they don't have a lot of differences because they're going to change the world.

Both organizers and students and coaches were impacted by some of the conversations today. A reminder that no matter how difficult race discussions can be, they're still important to have

The Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame was the backdrop for a discussion on racial equality, Tuesday.

More than 50 student athletes and more than 20 of their coaches from area high schools came together for what organizers hoped would be a game-changing summit.

“Race is a difficult thing to talk about. That's why we're in the situation we're in now,” explained Damion Creel referring to the country’s current climate.

Through the “Build the Bridge Program,” Kahari Hicks, the program’s creator, and other local coaches hope to use football to bring their student from all walks of life together.

Tuesday’s event including breakout sessions allowing the athletes to share their own stories and collectively brainstorm solutions.

“It really opened up my eyes to see that other people, and other races from other states understand what we're going through, “said A.J. Shorts a student at Brush High School.

Some of the teens shared stories about racial inequality that were unfathomable to others, but their goals and dreams, were very much the same.

“It was surprising to see how alike we all are. And it's good to have these uncomfortable conversations because you need to have them, and a lot of people don't want to have them,” explained Dom Grguric a student at Walsh Jesuit. “You need to have these conversations to change the culture,” he continued.

With everything that's going on in our society right now, it's important that these young people recognize that they don't have a lot of differences because they're going to change the world.

Both organizers and students and coaches were impacted by some of the conversations today. A reminder that no matter how difficult race discussions can be, they're still important to have