To kick off Black History Month, the Bears have unveiled their "Deeply Rooted" theme, symbolizing the integral connection between Black history and American history. The thematic will be woven in throughout the club's Black History Month content pieces, community service efforts, an exclusive merchandise collection and more.
The Bears, in partnership with the National Association of Black Journalists' Chicago Chapter, are highlighting Allegra Coleman, a student voice, on their owned and operated platforms for the month of February. Coleman, a star journalism student at Loyola Marymount University and Chicago native, will start the month off with a personal reflection on what "Deeply Rooted" means to her.
NABJ Chicago President Brandon Pope and the Bears have worked closely to continuously build the organizations' partnership and look for ways to give members more sports media opportunities.
"To do that you have to bring up diverse media storytellers and help those that may not be as advantaged as other people are," Pope said. "Journalism is an industry that tends to benefit way too often those who have it and really disenfranchise those who don't … Being able to provide opportunities and exposure and be that stop gap is everything. And so we're happy that the Bears understand that mission and are passionate about that mission, and we're thankful to partner with them for that."
With Pope's help, ChicagoBears.com coached Coleman to cultivate a voice for Black journalists from inside the organization.
At Loyola Marymount, Coleman is involved in the student newspaper, "The Loyolan," as a sports intern, works extensively with the ESPN+ broadcast crew and produces and hosts a radio show for the men's basketball team. Coleman is also in the process of launching an all-inclusive sports magazine.
"Allegra is a superstar and still so young," Pope said. "She has that passion, that excitement, that energy, that drive that you hope every young person has. It inspires you along the way when you get a chance to talk to her because we all remember when we were her age. I see a lot of myself in her, trying to find every opportunity I can to get some clips and push ahead and have a good career, so I think she's got a bright future ahead."
Coleman grew up on the South side of Chicago, was raised a Bears fan and still follows the team closely.
"I think it's just an amazing opportunity," Coleman said. "I never once would've thought that I would be working with the Bears. I just think it's honestly such an amazing opportunity. I grew up passing Soldier Field to go to elementary school, high school, just to hang out with my friends. That was just always something that I would see going on Lake Shore Drive.
"I think it's super cool to say I grew up in Chicago and now I'm working for the Chicago Bears — I'm a part of this team that I grew up watching and admiring and wondering if I could one day be a part of it."
Coleman said being involved with her hometown's NABJ chapter has "helped me a lot in such a short amount of time," provided unique opportunities like the one with the Bears and assisted in networking with "people with the same mind."
Coleman also takes a lot of pride in being able to represent Black journalists on a national scale and represent the city of Chicago.
"I'm a Black woman that's working in sports right now, and it's a hard field to get into, and I think that doing this during Black History Month is really motivating," Coleman said. "It's going to amplify our voices, Black voices within the industry. I think it's going to be something that's really powerful for me to be a part of and for others to witness this partnership. I'm just super excited."
In addition to Coleman's work during Black History Month, the Bears will highlight a variety of content throughout February, including player testimonials, Pope's WCIU interviews with President & CEO Kevin Warren and general manager Ryan Poles, collaborations with Chicago Urban Historian Shermann "Dilla" Thomas and more.
The "Deeply Rooted" merchandise collection will include a snapback and t-shirt to emphasize the deep connection between Black History and American history. In partnership with New Era and '47 Brand, the exclusive items will be available for online purchase at the Bears Pro Shop later in February.