On Wednesday Night of Football’s Super Bowl Week, over 500 diverse community members gathered at the Minneapolis “Pourhouse” venue to celebrate the 1st and now Inaugural “Super Bowl Inclusion Party”. The event was produced and presented by former NFL Vikings Player Esera Tuaolo and Adidas, and raised thousands of dollars for anti-bullying non-profits and homeless youth shelters in the local Minnesota area. Minnesota Vikings legend Carl Eller, former Vikings player Robert Smith, Falcons General Manager Scott Pioli, sports writers Steve Buckley and Chris Hine, Minnesota Timberwolves player Andrew Wiggins, and other professional athletes and industry insiders came out to show their support.
Before a moving video presentation from Esera’s non-profit HateIsWrong.org, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, and Avenues For Homeless Youth, Minneapolis’s Mayor Jacob Frey kicked off the evening of anti-bullying awareness and inclusion with a surprise visit and passionate speech about Esera’s work and his contributions to the community. Esera and the singers of Team Blake from season 13 of “The Voice” then took the stage for a number of applauded performances before a night of dancing and “Inclusion-tinis” from the enthusiastic guests and community members who came out to support the cause. The event was such a success that organizers announced they will continue the tradition at future Super Bowl cities, benefiting more local charities in those particular cities, beginning with Atlanta in February 2019.
The night was supported by heavy-weights in the LGBT Advocacy world, including GLAAD, The Federation Of Gay Games and The Human Rights Campaign. The missions of the orginations parallel with the evening’s theme, which showed through their generous contributions and outreach for the event. An online auction conducted with a special Inclusion Party Weekend VIP Package, including tickets to the actual Super Bowl on Sunday, and VIP tickets to many of the hottest parties of the weekend, closed and sold for $14,250, the highest winning price of any Super Bowl LII online auction. Proceeds from the Inclusion Party specifically went to the Hate In Any Form Is Wrong non-profit, the PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, and Avenues for Homeless Youth – all based in Minneapolis
Wrapping up the evening, Esera thanked the event attendees and partners by starting with his infamous “Aloha” greeting, and followed by: “Tonight a dream of mine came true. Throwing the first ever Super Bowl Inclusion Party. The fear of the unknown turned out to be a waste of energy. Tonight we witnessed the power of inclusion and diversity. I’m not scared anymore. I want to thank Adidas for making this happen. I also want to thank all of our sponsors; The Pourhouse, The Metropolis Foundation, Rugby Athletics, NFL, NFL Legends, Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, HRC, PACER’s, Avenues, Outsports, Gay Games, GLAAD, CW3PR, Revel, iHeart Radio, Pride Radio, Thomson Reuters, Twin Cities Gay Scene, Steve Elbert’s – New Century Pictures, Urban Primate Studios, and a huge thank you to all of the Volunteers. We can’t wait to make this an annual tradition!”