TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Former NFL player Byron Williams will hold a Virtual Social Justice Summit next week for young adults in Texarkana.
The Byron Williams Best Wishes Foundation is teaming up with the HOPE Initiative, and Amachi Vision Corps, Inc. to hold the event for those between the ages of 14-20.
Two sessions will be offered on Friday, July 31. The first will take place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the second will be held from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Special guest facilitators include NFL Player Partners Byron Williams, Mike Cherry, Roosevelt Collins, Andrew Givens, Priest Holmes, Larry Mallory, and Eric Warfield along with social justice expert Jarrad Carter and educator Dr. Robert Harper.
Williams said, “Since 1996, I have always wanted to come back to my hometown of Texarkana and give back to the community. It is very important that we have this virtual summit to let the voices of young adults be heard during these challenging times in our country.”
Williams added, “Seeing and knowing the impact that has been made during my annual football and cheerleader camps over the past25 consecutive years and not being able to facilitate this event physically due to COVID-19 this year was all the reason I needed to team up with The Hope Initiative to host our virtual Social Justice Summit. This virtual platform will allow us to replace the face-to-face camps and keep our annual streak going.”
The Virtual Social Justice Summit will be spearheaded by The HOPE Initiative, a federally recognized 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, who receives funding from the NFL Foundation to provide its social justice program, Beyond Change, to youth and young adults throughout the country.
The Beyond Change program was designed to assist youth, law enforcement, community organizations, and social justice experts in promoting positive change through collaborative partnerships and community service. In addition, Beyond Changespecifically addresses the need for intentional programming in support of the NFL Foundation Social Justice Grant Matching Program and the NFL Inspire Change Initiative.
The NFL Foundation Social Justice Grant Matching Program is designed to provide nonprofit organizations with funding of up to $5,000 on behalf of a current or former NFL player in the arena of social justice.
The grant is used to fund organizations, programs, or initiatives that reduce the barriers to opportunities. Areas of priority include, but are not limited to education, criminal justice reform, police/community relations and can also address poverty, racial equality and workforce/economic development.
Founder and President of The HOPE Initiative and Executive Director of Beyond Change Dr. Robert Harper said, “Our program is uniquely positioned to address social justice issues, community advancement, and public trust through the lens of college, career and life readiness and non-enforcement activities with police officers.”
Harper added, “And with the funding support provided by the NFL Foundation Social Justice Matching grant program, we are able to scale up our social justice programming in an effort to create a model that can be implemented throughout all 32 NFL cities.”
Conducted as a two-hour workshop, Beyond Change’s Virtual Social Justice Summit incorporates solution-oriented activities that specifically focus on two of the three priority areas for the NFL Inspire Change initiative: 1) Education and Economic Advancement and, 2) Police and Community Relations, and 3) Criminal Justice Reform.
Williams said, “I am appreciative of the support from the NFL community, especially the NFL Foundation who matched the donations of former players to The HOPE Initiative. I believe and know that this is an exciting time for us to continue to prepare young people to be challenged and ready for all of the opportunities presented to each one of them. Victory and life’s “Achievement” is on the horizon for our youth.”
To learn more about The HOPE Initiative, visit www.the-hope-initiative.org.