The Players Coalition announced its 2024 social justice partners on February 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s focus is community-centered solutions that embrace a public health approach to violence. The accomplishments of its 2023 partners were also recognized. 

“The Players Coalition convenes its 2024 and 2023 partners to discuss the impact of these relationships and aspirations for the relationships taking shape as well as the role that Coalition athletes are taking on a variety of issues critical to disadvantaged communities across the country,” the Coalition said in a press release.

The 2024 partners of the Players Coalition are Community Justice, founded by Amber Goodwin and Equal Justice USA, led by Jamila Hodge. “Although my hometown Detroit Lions didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this week, I’ve got another reason to be excited,” Hodge said in an email just before the announcement was made public.

“The past year saw historic reductions in murders and violence in cities across the nation,” Kyle Arrington, a Super Bowl champion and Players Coalition advocate, said. “Organizations like Community Justice and Equal Justice USA are major contributors to that achievement, as they partner with local communities to build solutions that are proven to prevent violence. Players Coalition is excited to be part of this fundamental shift in how we create safe communities.”

Community Justice is “a national organization working to build power with and for communities of color to end gun violence.” Equal Justice USA is “a national organization working in 16 states and 16 specific cities to transform the justice system by promoting responses to violence that break cycles of trauma.” 

Both organizations will receive $100,000 grants from the Players Coalition Charitable Foundation to further their mission and extend their impact in 2024. 

“We are incredibly grateful to the Players Coalition for its investment and especially, its commitment to public health-focused, community-centered solutions that will strengthen Black and other marginalized communities,” Jamila Hodge, CEO of EJUSA said. “This is the future of public safety, and the dedicated activists of the Players Coalition can play a huge role in educating people and building awareness that these are proven solutions.”

“Gun violence takes lives or leaves long-lasting physical and emotional scars for those impacted,” Amber Goodwin, founder of Community Justice, said. “We are honored to have the Players Coalition’s support for our work to achieve evidence-informed, community-driven solutions to this public health crisis. As a national gun violence prevention organization laser-focused on supporting Black and brown communities, we know this partnership can help save lives. Through investments and partnerships like these, we can end gun violence in all forms with sustained advocacy and community investments to make a lasting impact.”

During a panel discussion moderated by Vince Pierson of the Players Coalition, the current and former grantees shared how they came to their work and what the partnership means for their communities. 

Digital Pioneer Academy, founded by Mashea Ashton, and The T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project, established by Tia Bell, were recognized for their work as 2023 partners. Applauding the preemptive response of the Players Coalition, Ashton said, “It takes courage to step out on these issues.”

The Players Coalition was founded in 2017 by former NFL stars Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin to advocate for racial equity and social justice. It’s an “athlete-led organization working to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have the opportunity to thrive without barriers.” 

Their work is accomplished partly by “partnering with local and national organizations that are advancing community-centered solutions to systemic problems.” Since its inception, the Players Coalition has given over $50 million.

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