My Person of the Week: Malcolm Jenkins

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Photo Credit: ESPN. Jenkins speaks with reporters after players meeting with NFL officials in New York.

Photo Credit: ESPN. Jenkins speaks with reporters after players meeting with NFL officials in New York.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog entry titled, “Black Celebrities and the Unfair Responsibility to Lead.” In it I referenced the burden of African Americans in positions of influence to use their platforms to create social good. Though unfair, especially in respect to the idea of individualism, I firmly believe that we need more from our people in power in the black community. One such person, Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles, has publicly taken up that mantle as a leader. His philanthropy, community activism, outward show of support for social change, and understanding of perspective has made him one of the most influential people I follow.

Yesterday, he and other player representatives from the National Football League met with owners and league officials to discuss social issues and plans "to promote equality and effectuate positive change." The unprecedented meeting was held prior to the league-wide owners-only meeting scheduled for later in the day. Jenkins and his constituents communicated their perspectives to league officials and appeared to have walked away feeling as though all sides were on the same page.

Photo Credit: The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation

Photo Credit: The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation

On Monday, he hosted his fourth annual Blitz, Bow-Ties, and Bourbon fundraiser in Philadelphia. Proceeds from the event will support the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation's youth programs and initiatives in Philadelphia, such as Summer S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math). Founded in 2010, the Foundation actively works to “effectuate positive change in the lives of youth by providing resources, innovative opportunities, and experiences that will help them succeed in life and become contributing members of their communities.” For more information, click here!

He’s also the author of the “Criminal Justice Season” column on the Philadelphia Citizen. The weekly blog analyzes the nature and construction behind the criminal justice system for the county that holds each city on the Eagles 2017-2018 season calendar and, how they each compare to Philadelphia County. In addition, through each installment Jenkins has offered some personal insight into policies that which we can enact criminal justice reform, championing the Clean Slate Act and Cash Bail Reform so far this season.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated. Jenkins (c.) hold his fist in demonstration as teammate Chris Long (l.) stands in solidarity.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated. Jenkins (c.) hold his fist in demonstration as teammate Chris Long (l.) stands in solidarity.

However, his activism, while a certain endearing quality of his, would not be as noteworthy if it weren’t for his perspective. Malcolm Jenkins understands the complexity of the issues he wishes to help alleviate. That is why he’s put himself in the shoes of the people across the aisle on some of the most polarizing topics. He’s orchestrated ride-alongs to better understand the perspective of local police officers in Philadelphia. He’s taken part in efforts to discuss racial injustices with key White House officials, as well as a town hall open forum with local Philadelphia organization R.I.S.E. Each Sunday you can find Jenkins with his fist held high during the Presentation of Colors in support of his reform initiatives.

A truly unique and selfless man. A role model who understands that we need leaders like him.

I just HATE that he plays for the Eagles. #GoBlue