Kaepernick’s Police Brutality Protests Inspire Chicago Bears To Make $500K Donation

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Written by Ann Brown

Colin Kaepernick’s act of kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality — and the ensuing dialogue — prompted some organizations to commit money to help fight social injustice.

The Chicago Bears announced they will commit $500,000 to social justice programs in the city, with a focus on education and community-police relations.

Players plan on raising $250,000 for social justice programs and the team ownership says it will match that amount.

“This donation comes as a result of the work done by the team’s social justice committee that includes linebacker Sam Acho, tight end Trey Burton, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Mitchell Trubisky, four front office staff members and team Chairman George McCaskey,” WGNTV channel 9 reported.

The commitment was announced via Twitter and a video.

“This whole thing got started a little over two years ago when obviously Colin Kaepernick and some players around the NFL were taking knees, and there was a big discussion about what can we as players and as a team do to help address some of the issues that people are protesting,” Bears linebacker Sam Acho said in the video.  “And so that’s why we got together and said not only do we want to do stuff in the community, but we also want to put our money behind it.”

Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears lock arms during the National Anthem in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

Lineman Akiem Hicks added, “This is just a big step in saying we are fully committed, we’re all in,” Hicks said. “I think that’s a great issue that was brought up by Kaepernick.”

Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem to raise awareness of police brutality. Dozens of NFL players have taken a knee, raised a fist or remained off the field during the anthem in the two years since then to protest injustice, but Kaepernick has remained unsigned by a team since the end of the 2016 season, The Hill reported.

This latest financial commitment by the Bears is a result of a partnership announced in 2017 between the NFL and its players to address social justice issues raised by Kaepernick and others.

The agreement allotted $89 million in funding over seven years from the league for social justice projects. It also stipulated that each team owner can put up $250,000, with the players expected to match that amount, The Hill reported.

Social justice programs are sorely needed in Chicago. A 2016 study found that the racial gap in the city is probably greater than anywhere else in the U.S.

Whites are in the minority in the city of Chicago, but in recent years, they are the only group to see incomes rising: by 52 percent between 1990 and 2012, compared to just 13 percent for Blacks and 15 percent for Hispanics, according to a report conducted by the New Century Foundation.