Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross with Role Model at RISE Tailgate.
By DAPHNE TAYLOR
Special to South Florida Times
MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins’ top executives are giving support and singing the praises of the Trayvon Martin Foundation and other organizations that are effecting change in the community.
The foundation has just been recognized as one of the team’s “Social Justice” grant recipients, slated to receive donations to continue their work locally and beyond.
“We have a great relationship with the Trayvon Martin Foundation and we’re blown away by the work they’ve done in changing the national conversation on gun violence. We support their efforts to move the conversation forward,” said Dolphins Senior Vice President Jason Jenkins in a telephone interview Monday night.
The Miami Dolphins organization doesn’t want to simply buy a table at a banquet, said Jenkins. He called that kind of support “superficial.” “We want to support real change,” said Jenkins.
The Dolphins will help support the Foundation’s S.T.E.M. and Youth Empowerment Summits for 8-12th graders. More than 2,500 students throughout Florida have attended the event where students collectively address social justice issues in their communities and schools while also learning how to prepare for career opportunities in science and technology.
Trayvon Martin was seventeen-years old in 2012 when he was gunned down by a Central Florida security guard, sparking nationwide outrage over his controversial shooting death. His parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin started the Foundation to honor their son’s life and legacy against senseless gun violence.
“It’s important to our owner, Stephen Ross and our players and alumni that we support South Florida groups and organizations that are affecting change. Everyone in South Florida deserves a level playing field and we’re grateful that our platform allows us to unite people representing a wide array and cross section of groups,” said Jenkins.
The Trayvon Martin Foundation is one of eight organizations – representing racial and ethnic groups, police organizations, youth groups, LGBTQ groups and more – that the Dolphins are supporting with social justice grants.
The additional grant recipients include: Urban League of Broward County; Art Detectives; Community Justice Project, Inc.; Miami Gardens Police Department; North Miami Beach Police Athletic League; Pridelines; SAVE; and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NOBLE).
NOBLE South Florida Chapter President Timothy Belcher said the partnership with the Miami Dolphins would assist their organization in building stronger relationships with youth in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
The additional grant announcements follow news that the Dolphins have entered into a long-term partnership, centering on social justice, education and police and youth relations. The cornerstones of the partnership will see the Dolphins host the 5000 Role Models Police and Youth Conference and a College Academic Signing Day for Wilson Scholars at Hard Rock Stadium.
In addition, the Dolphins will continue pre-existing programs with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, founded by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, and amplify new events. In all, these social justice community initiatives will impact more than 10,000 Role Models.
These initiatives are in addition to Dolphins previous work in this space through the team’s collaboration with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE).
Founded and created by Ross in 2015, RISE harnesses the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. To learn more about RISE, visit risetowin.org.
“We’re stewards of the community and we wanted to show that we have a focus on equality, humanity and civility. We want to help these organizations with their specific programs and raise awareness of their specific goals, ” said Jenkins.
Please note that the Trayvon Martin Foundation is one of nine organizations supported by the Miami Dolphins with social justice grants.
Also, the shortening of a quote during editing made Mr. Jenkins comments unclear. The following is the exact quote: “We didn’t want to just buy a table at a banquet, which would be so superficial of us. We want to support real change,” said Jenkins.