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Community Voices: Commemorating One Year of Education and Allyship

Late in the Spring of 2020, people around the United States and the world took a stand against systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the civil uprising gathered momentum in cities all over the country, many organizations and corporations also took a stand. 

Among them, the JD Finish Line family denounced racism, bigotry and hatred, but words mean nothing without corresponding action.

The #FNLFam made the commitment to support our customers, employees and the communities we live in, with an initial $1.5 million donation to amplify local and national organizations that make a difference in Black communities as well as programs and initiatives to create a more diverse workforce and progress the careers and education of many of our employees, including in our stores and our Distribution and Customer Care Centers.

Alongside the initial donation, we started a weekly interview series called Community Voices as part of our commitment to becoming better allies and educating ourselves, our customers and our employees on issues faced by the Black community.

The series has evolved over the past year to bring to light the challenges impacting other marginalized communities in the United States, so that we can expand our allyship and education process. On many occasions, the #FNLFam has also been able to contribute monetary support to charitable organizations of our guest’s choice.

This Friday, June 19, marks the anniversary of the first of these conversations. After 55 episodes of Community Voices, our commitment to listening and learning continues.

Our Collaborators

Below are a selection of collaborators and highlights of their conversations. You can find each episode in chronological order listed here.

Vol. 1 – Terrence J

Actor Terrence J joined us on Juneteenth 2020 to discuss the importance of education and understanding Black history.

“Over the past three months, I’ve learned more about Black people than [I did] going to college,” he said. “[There’s a] misconception that Black history is only for Black people. It’s important to share our stories and do our research … this is something all American kids should know about.”

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Vol. 5 – LaLa Anthony

On July 17, 2020, we were joined by actress, producer, best-selling author, fashion and cosmetics mogul Lala Anthony. She highlighted challenges facing inner city youth and how her foundation plays a part in building confidence in her community. 

“I give back to my communities, to me there’s no greater feeling [than] women empowerment,” she said. “Your environment doesn’t define who you are going to be or how far you’re going to go.” 

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Vol. 6 – John Wall

Then-Washington Wizards guard John Wall came through to discuss the issues facing the Black community in our nation’s capital.

“To be realistic everything is about how we come together and try to improve and overcome obstacles that we’re facing right now,” he said. “We know we’ve all been dealing with this … our whole lives.”

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Vol. 17 – Becky G

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we were fortunate to have singer, actress and podcast host Becky G join us to speak on the importance of voting in the Latinx community, just weeks out from the 2020 presidential election.

On healthcare, immigration and a pathway to citizenship, Becky G said: “We have the power to be deciders in how this is going to end.”

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Vol. 18 – Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade

This special three-guest edition saw three NBA legends join us to talk about voter suppression and what conversations they’ve been having with each other, their families, children and friends amid a challenging 2020.

“Some people may want to vote and on the day they want to vote their boss says “not today, [if] you don’t come to work you’re fired,” Chris Paul explained. “[With voter suppression,] there’s all these different things that happen when it’s time to vote where if we don’t experience it, we’re not aware of it.”

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Vol. 22 – Stephen A. Smith

Sports broadcaster and journalist Stephen A. Smith joined the program to teach us about HBCUs and the importance of education and literacy.

“If you’re black and you’re going to the typical university, you know you’re one of very few. As a result, it’s similar to your disadvantaged community because you’re alone,” he said. “You have to overcome obstacles, but when you’re at an HBCU, you see people who look like you, act like you..people with relatable experiences. As a result you don’t find yourself alone.”

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Vol. 29 – Dr. Calinda M. Lee

To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we were joined by Dr. Calinda M. Lee, an award-winning curator, writer and educator from the National Center for Civil and Human Rights who spoke on MLK’s legacy and how crucial education is.

“Martin Luther King is one of the few figures we explore in our curriculum in schools. There is a version of MLK who people see who isn’t the fullness of who MLK was,” she said. “Across all forms of identity and levels of struggles, different issues that contribute to inequity, MLK is iconic to us in those ways. Education is the beginning of everything. You have to know better to do better.”

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Vol. 43 – Meena Harris

During Women’s History Month, best-selling author Meena Harris came through to discuss the importance of empowering future generations, lessons she’s learned by growing up around strong and powerful women and the work she does through her organization.

“No matter how small, each of us can play a role and it’s about showing up with that intention,” she said. “Not only to know I had the power to make a difference but I had the responsibility and carry that duty of always asking ‘why?’ or ‘what can I do?’ or how I can make an impact no matter how small or where I am.”

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Vol. 51 – Alvin Irby

On May 14, we welcomed former kindergarten teacher turned award-winning social entrepreneur, international speaker, comedian and author Alvin Irby to the program to discuss motivating children to read, and the work he does to promote childhood literacy through his organization, Barbershop Books.

“The work that I do with reading is certainly about helping kids to become better readers,” he said. “But it’s also about helping them to discover things about themselves and what they like about the world that they’re interested in and hopefully will inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning.”

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Vol. 54 – Sue Bird

WNBA legend Sue Bird joined us during Pride Month to explain some of the challenges she has faced as a LGBTQIA+ athlete in professional sports.

“We’re still in a place in our world where things aren’t equal and you have to take time out, and have months, to dedicate to different things in our society that aren’t equal to the groups that are marginalized,” she said. “What we’re all hoping we get to is a point where we don’t need these months, it is what it is all year round. But until then, we’re going to take these moments to shine that light and push the conversation forward.”

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Our Causes

Below you can find a list of all the organizations we have donated to on behalf of our Community Voices special guests.

LaLa Land FoundationJohn Wall Family FoundationPretty Brown GirlMary McCleod Bethune School Rondae Hollis Jefferson Foundation Brogdon Family Foundation PitCHH in Jalen Rose Leadership AcademyLatino Community FoundationSocial Change FundSloane Stephens Foundation Stephen A. Smith Literacy FoundationAD99 SolutionsOfficial Made FoundationDreamers Youth Seth Curry FoundationHouse of Ruth We The Best FoundationUntil Freedom National Center for Civil and Human Rights The Mental Wealth AllianceYSIPhilly.orgMuralArts.orgBAMFamily First Foundation and Pro Arts CommonsSaint Jude’s Children’s Hospital Phenomenal Media Fund via Silicon Valley Community FoundationOakland Kids First Boys and Girls Club – SE LouisianaPrecious Dreams FoundationBEAM – Black Emotional and Mental Health CollectiveLegends Do LiveSon of a SaintBarbershop BooksSister to SisterSidewalk PDXYou Can Play ProjectNo Kid Hungry

STATUS Members can help contribute to the fight against racial injustice through donating their points to our featured Community Voices charitable organizations each week. Log in to your Rewards Catalog now, or sign up to become a STATUS member.

We’re 56 episodes in and we’re just getting started. On 6/18, Terrence J returns to Community Voices at 4pm EST on our IG TV.

On Juneteenth, you can join our platform for change. Tune in to our IG TV every Friday at 4pm EST and hit the Rewards Catalog to donate your STATUS points to contribute to change. 
The post Community Voices: Commemorating One Year of Education and Allyship appeared first on The Fresh Press by Finish Line.

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