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This Informational Text Reading Response article is about citizenship and building bridges between police officers and disadvantaged youth.
PK Subban is a professional hockey player. He has been using his position of power to help build bridges between police officers and disadvantaged youth by creating opportunities for the two groups to hang out with each other in positive ways.
The take-away message is that active citizenship means making a positive difference in your community. We all belong to different communities – our school community, our local community, our country, the world, etc. But, citizenship also means making a positive difference to other groups based on aspects of our identity – gender, race, religion, etc.
5 Things you need to know:
- P.K. Subban plays defense for the New Jersey Devils
- Every home game, he hosts 4 guests to a nice dinner and great seats to watch his team play hockey.
- Two of the guests are underprivileged youth from the Newark community and two of the guests are police officers from precincts throughout Newark.
- Subban has a best friend who was a police officer.
- Subban started Blueline Buddies when he played for the Nashville Predators and is continuing to do it in New Jersey.
Watch the Video:
Click here for the YouTube video link.
5 Quotes to think about
“Anybody that’s grown up in inner-city understands that law enforcement can be perceived in different ways”SOURCE: PK Subban talking about the Blueline Buddies program with Hip New Jersey January 2020
“I have the opportunity to purchase 4 tickets to a home game, 41 times. Who sits in those seats, that’s up to me.SOURCE: PK Subban talking with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. January 2018 (The video is geo-blocked in Canada but Comedy Central will give you a one-time, one-day TV pass to be able to watch this clip on their website.
“I’m all for athletes and people in general exercising their rights… I’m making an effort to build a bridge. Trying to create positive energy between police officers that leave their houses every day, leave their families every day and don’t know if they’re going to come back, and our underprivileged youth.SOURCE: PK Subban talking to Tennessean (USA TODAY network) in December 2017
“The boys haven’t stopped talking about this and I think they will look at things differently from now on. Even me, I’m 41, I’ve never sat down and had a conversation with a police officer before. Hell, it changed my view.”SOURCE: DeAngelo Bennett – He, his son and nephew participated in P.K.’s Blueline Buddies in Tennessee. As reported by Tennessean (USA TODAY network) in December 2017
I’m going to stay in touch with this kid… we’re going to go to many more games because I got season tickets…SOURCE: Police Officer email to P.K. Subban about his experience – as described by PK Subban on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. January 2018
Building Bridges – Citizenship Mini-Lesson
Citizenship is more than just being a citizen of a country. It’s more than just being a member of the community, a student in the classroom, or a player on a sports team.
If we look up the definition of citizenship, we get something like this:
the position or status of being a citizen of a particular country.
Likewise, if we look up the definition of student, we get something like this:
A person who is studying at a school or college
If we look at the definition of teammate, we get something like this:
A fellow member of a team.
But, think about it for a moment:
- Just because you are a student does not mean that you are automatically a good student.
- Likewise, just because you play on a sports team, does not mean you are automatically a good teammate.
- And so, just because you are a citizen does not mean that you are automatically a good citizen.
When we talk about citizenship at school, we’re not talking about immigration or having a passport or birth certificate.
We’re talking about being a good citizen or an active citizen
How to be a good citizen
Let’s look at how to be a good student or how to be a good team member to try to figure out what it means to be a good citizen
What makes someone a good teammate?
- Someone who helps the team win
- Someone who passes the ball or gets points
- Someone who works with other team members so you achieve your goal
- Someone who is coachable
- Someone who does their part
- Some who tries try to get better but also tries to help their team to win and get better
- Someone who helps other team members. “There’s no I in team”
Take a moment and think about what makes a “good” student.
- someone who gets good marks
- The student is someone who tries their best.
- Someone who participates in class conversations.
- Someone who does their homework.
- Someone who helps others. Someone who is trying to learn. Someone who helps classmates. Someone who does well at school. What does that mean?
Challenge your ideas:
Look back at some of your ideas:
- Is someone who gets good marks automatically a good student?
Can you be a good student and not get good marks?
- Is someone who scores a lot of points in the game automatically a good team member?
Can you be a good team member and not score a lot of points?
Look at your best answers above and see if you can transfer those to being a good citizen. What does it mean to be a good citizen or an active citizen?
If you play on a team, if you’re part of the band, if you’re in a drama production, if you’re a student in a class… Do you take action to make a positive difference for your group?
- If you’re in a band, what do you do to make a positive difference for your band?
- If you’re on a sports team, what you do to make a positive difference for sports team?
- If you’re part of the drama production, what do you do to make a positive difference for the play?
- If you’re a student, what do you do to make a positive difference for the class?
We are all part of different communities.
Think about what you do in your class community your school community your local community, and the world.
There’s a phrase “think global, act local.” It means to think about how your actions impact our world. What do you do that helps make a positive difference in the world?
- What do you do in class that helps makes a positive difference?
- What do you do at school that helps make a positive difference?
- What do you do outside of school to help make a positive difference?
Communication Discussion Questions
Based on this citizenship mini-lesson, how would you answer the following questions:
- What communities or groups do you think PK Subban is a part of? (He’s ___. He’s a ___)
- What actions did P.K. Subban do (or not do)? What message might this send? Who might benefit if this message is accepted?
- What do we mean when we talk about building bridges in this article? Which bridges are the hardest to build? Which are the easiest?
- Is this an example of good citizenship? Why or Why not?
Free Building Bridges Citizenship Lesson Slideshow
Link to resources used in this article:
- Lisa Marie Latino, Hip New Jersey article and video: Blueline Buddies Program Bringing Together Newark Police and Hockey
- Joe Rexrode, The Tennessean article: P.K. Subban’s latest target – the barrier between police, kids
- Interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
- Video: https://youtu.be/XfqTXeFuOUY
- Educircles Citizenship Lesson Plans
Here is a timeline to place this article about PK Subban in context and timeline:
- May 2009: Subban starts playing for the Montreal Canadiens
- September 2015: Subban pledges $10 million donation to Montreal Children’s Hospital
- June 2016: Subban traded to Nashville Predators
- August 2016: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protests anthem over treatment of minorities. A number of NFL players take a knee or stay in the locker rooms in protest. Other athletes in different sports also protest. (source: 2016-present)
- September 2017: PK Subban says he would never take a knee during the national anthem.
- October 2017: Blueline Buddies is in full swing.
- December 2017: Article in the Tennessean:
- “I’m all for athletes and people in general exercising their rights… I’m making an effort to build a bridge. Trying to create positive energy between police officers that leave their houses every day, leave their families every day and don’t know if they’re going to come back, and our underprivileged youth.”
- “The boys haven’t stopped talking about this and I think they will look at things differently from now on. Even me, I’m 41, I’ve never sat down and had a conversation with a police officer before. Hell, it changed my view.”
- October 2018: Blueline Buddies is back.
- January 2018: Subban talks with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
- “I have the opportunity to purchase 4 tickets to a home game, 41 times. Who sits in those seats, that’s up to me.”
- “I’m going to stay in touch with this kid… we’re going to go to many more games because I got season tickets…”
- January 2019: Blueline Buddies still in the mix.
- June 2019: PK Subban traded to New Jersey Devils
- January 2020: Blueline Buddies (New Jersey)
- January 2020: Blueline Buddies (Tennessee) still going on.
- January 2020: Subban talks with Hip New Jersey:
- “Anybody that’s grown up in inner-city understands that law enforcement can be perceived in different ways”
- March 2020: NHL shuts down the season due to Covid-19
- June 2020: Subban donates $50,000 to fund for George Floyd’s daughter. Convinces the NHL league to match the donation.
Change The Game❤️🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/otPpYIBkJx— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) June 3, 2020