The Vikings have talked the talk, and now they're walking the walk. On Tuesday, the team announced the commitment of nearly $1 million dollars towards the creation or expansion of several social justice initiatives, with more to come. They also announced the inaugural recipient of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship.
Back in June, the Wilfs announced a $5 million donation to various social justice causes, along with the creation of a scholarship in Floyd's name. A few months later, after numerous conversations among the team's social justice committee, we now know where the first wave of those funds are going.
The team is focusing on three areas: "1) voter education and registration; 2) educational curriculum on racism and Black history; and 3) law enforcement and criminal justice reform."
Here are some of the causes and initiatives being supported by the Vikings:
- Voting: "Working together with the Office of the Secretary of State, the Vikings are using the team's platform to encourage fans to register and safely participate in the electoral process. The Vikings will launch a series of player-led voting content and make it easy for fans to find voting information via Vikings.com/bethechange. The team will also help provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for polling workers throughout Minnesota."
- All Square: "The Vikings will further expand the team's commitment to All Square, a local nonprofit social enterprise that invests in the minds and lives of formerly incarcerated individuals. All Square's mission is to ensure that those impacted by the criminal justice system have the support and opportunities they deserve to become our country's future leaders, business owners, legal practitioners and entrepreneurs."
- Critical Conversations: "The Vikings will host a series of Critical Conversation sessions with Minnesota High School athletic programs to help address issues of race and injustice."
- Black History Curriculum Expansion: "In 2016, with a focus on integrating Black history into mainstream U.S. history and developing courses devoted to the African American experience, the Vikings became the first NFL team to partner with Everfi in an effort to bring a 306 Black History curriculum to Minnesota students. Now in its fifth year, the program has since been replicated by the NFL in many markets. In 2020, the Vikings will expand the curriculum from 12 to 24 schools and reach thousands of students.
- Project Success: "In 2019, the Vikings partnered with Project Success, a Minneapolis-based organization focused on helping kids develop life-skills, support and confidence so they are more successful and engaged during high school and more prepared for life after graduation."
- Hennepin County & Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Centers
- Jeremiah Program
- The Link
- Page Education Foundation
- People Serving People
For the full details, check out the post on the Vikings' website.
Also, the Vikings recently named Mimi Kor-Balfour as the inaugural recipient of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship. The Minneapolis Southwest High School graduate impressed with her essay application and receives a $5,000 scholarship. Mark Wilf, Rick Spielman, and several players called Kor-Balfour to inform her that she had been chosen for the scholarship. She will begin attending Barnard College (virtually) this fall.
These are tangible steps that the Vikings are taking, which is what they've been talking about for quite some time. That goal – enacting real change, not just saying the right things – was the reason why the team chose to practice while several other teams didn't in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha last month.
"We are proud of the foundation Vikings players have established over the last several years, actively engaging our community, but we are all aware of the imperative work that needs to continue," Wilf said. "We are unified in working to create meaningful and substantial change and believe these initiatives will help move us forward."
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