Berj Najarian launches an organization dedicated to the preservation of cultural identity through My Cause My Cleats
Through team conversations about racial and social injustices over the past two years, Najarian recognized common themes regarding human rights, self-determination, and justice. He saw people from all walks of life come together to support each other and was able to educate the team about the Armenians. Following the murder of George Floyd, players and coaches shared their experiences of living as black men and fighting racism in the United States. Chris Mattes shed light on the issues facing Indigenous communities through his friendship with Lyle Thompson and his support for his family’s non-profit organization.
Seeing these connections between people of different cultures, traditions and heritages in the locker room was part of what motivated Najarian to create Who We Are.
“Everyone has a story about who they are, where they’re from and where they’re going. That’s who we are and a lot of it stems from the special environment within our team and our organization. ” he said. “It is a testament to how much can be accomplished when people are ready to listen, learn and act on behalf of others. “
The launch of Who We Are coincides with My Cause My Cleats, and Najarian once again wears custom sneakers with a purpose. A shoe is a tribute to his Armenian heritage, including the smiling Armenian children, a very important symbol of eternity in Armenian designs, and most notably to Najarian, an image of Mount Ararat in the Armenian coat of arms. Above the mountain is a symbol representing the final resting place of the iconic biblical arch. “Yes, this the ark, ”Najarian said, referring to Noah’s ark.
The other shoe represents the larger mission of Who We Are, with the words “Who We Are” inscribed in as many languages as possible on a shoe, including Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Hindi, l ‘Hebrew, Thai and others.
“Who We Are exists to help advance cultural identity and connections between diverse people who make incredible contributions to the world. We believe it’s a great way to simultaneously perpetuate legacies and help create them. again.”