Lillard followed out of Respect Campaign by students
Portland Trail Blazers franchise point guard Damian Lillard kicked off the second year of his “Respect, Pass it On” campaign during an all-school assembly at Wilsonville High School on Friday.
After practice, Lillard drove down to Wilsonville, Ore. to encourage the 2,200 students in attendance inside the school’s basketball gymnasium to treat everyone with the utmost respect and urged them to take the Respect Pledge.
At the conclusion of the event, Lillard stressed how important this program is to him.
“This isn’t something that somebody made me do,” Lillard said. “This is something I feel passionate about and wanted to do. When you feel deeply passionate about anything, you tend to make sure you’re doing it the right way oppose to being forced to do something.”
Lillard told the story of when he took a likened to a student when they were in high school. That student was constantly being bullied and harassed. He befriended him and made certain that others knew that was his guy.
From that point on, the other students started treating him differently. All it took was for one person to stand up and that’s exactly the message the school wanted relayed.
“This is great,” said Principal Aaron Downs, whose school had already been in week-long conversations about bullying and respect. “We didn’t find out until recently that he wanted to come and speak. So this was really great for the students to hear this from him.”
Les Schwab Tire Centers and adidas are once again involved with this initiative, whose message of respecting others has extended well beyond the Pacific Northwest.
This year Special Olympics Oregon has gotten on board. It’s only right since they have been huge advocates of respect throughout the state in recent years. Lillard, who is an international Special Olympics Ambassador and helped coached the Special Olympics Sports Game during NBA All-Star Weekend last year, says it’s the perfect match.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Lillard said of Special Olympics Oregon. “I’m all for equality and making sure that everyone is treated with respect no matter what. So them coming on board was huge. I just hope kids really take this in because you never know how many people you can help by simply saying hello and being nice.”
According to Lillard, this is the first of a few speaking engagements he’ll commit to on this matter during the season. The Respect campaign is back in full force. But Lillard says it never left.
“This will be something I’ll continue doing,” he said. “There’s more work to be done.”
If you’re interested in finding out more on how you can take the Respect pledge, here you go.