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Monday, September 20, 2021

Linebacker Preston Smith celebrates.

Packers give five grants to social justice groups in Wisconsin

On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers announced donations of $50,000 to five different social justice organizations in Madison, Minneapolis and Milwaukee. After tweets calling for social justice and remaining in the locker room for the national anthem, Wisconsin’s pro football team has once again put their money where their mouth is. 

“Our players and the Packers organization remain committed to doing our part to address the pervasive issues of racial inequality and social injustice in our communities," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in the Tuesday press release. "We are proud to contribute to these nonprofit organizations who are working every day to create and enhance access to education and economic opportunities and develop communities where children, adults and families can grow and thrive."

This is not the first time this year that the Packers have supported the fight against racial inequality in the United States. The outraged sparked by George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis served as a catalyst for the team to further the momentum which they have been building on over the past three years by making contributions to social justice organizations. In the first two games of the season, on Sept. 13 and 20, the team collectively remained in the locker room during the national anthem. 

“You get out there and guys kneeling, guys not, whatever, it just gets hijacked,” Packers receiver Davante Adams said. “We didn’t want anyone to take off with it and give a new meaning to what we were trying to do. We decided to stay inside as a team.” 

Conversations in the Packer locker room about racial injustice began during the summer when social unrest and protest was at its climax. Packer players committed to having complex and hard conversations about racism, which is what ultimately led to the team decision to remain in the locker room during the National Anthem at their first two games.  

“...The question is going to be, as we move forward throughout this season, are guys still going to be able to take that stride forward and put that front foot forward to make a difference in that category,” offensive lineman Billy Turner said in August. 

Now, as a part of their continued efforts to fight for social justice, the Packers have made a monetary contribution to five Wisconsin organizations. 

One of the five organizations to which the Packers contributed is 100 Black Men of Madison Inc. This organization focuses on serving youth, and directs their efforts towards creating “environments where our children are motivated to achieve, and to empower our people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of the communities we serve.” An extensive list of programs, which focus on mentoring, education, health & wellness, or economic empowerment, are how they work towards their mission.

The other Madison organization, Urban League of Greater Madison, also has a variety of programs, geared both towards youth and adults. Their mission is to “ensure that African Americans and other community members are educated, employed and empowered to live well, advance professionally and contribute to the common good in the 21st Century.”

The Packers continue to use both their influence and their monetary power to drive forward progress and change in the United States. 

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