TEXARKANA — Former NFL receiver Byron Williams is hosting a Virtual Social Justice Summit for Texarkana Young Adults on July 31.
There will be two sessions offered over Zoom video conferencing: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is put on as a partnership between Williams’ Best Wishes Foundation and The HOPE Initiative along with Amachi Vision Corps, Inc.
In addition to Williams, a former Green Bay Packer, Philadelphia Eagle, and New York Giant, special guest speakers include Priest Holmes, Mike Cherry, Eric Warfield, Andrew Givins, and Roosevelt Collins. Attendees will also hear from social justice expert Jarrad Carter and educator Dr. Robert Harper, founder and president of The HOPE Initiative and executive director of Beyond Change.
“Since 1996, I have always wanted to come back to my hometown of Texarkana and give back to the community. It is very important that we have this virtual summit to let the voices of young adults be heard during these challenging times in our country,” Byron Williams said.
The former UT-Arlington Maverick has had football and cheerleader camps for the past 25 years, but COVID-19 nixed such plans for the 2020 summer. However, Williams has altered them to a virtual setting to tackle social justice, saying it was, “all the reason I needed to team up with The Hope Initiative to host our virtual Social Justice Summit. This virtual platform will allow us to replace the face-to-face camps and keep our annual streak going.”
The HOPE Initiative is a federally recognized 501 (c)(3) nonprofit and receives funding from the NFL Foundation to provide Beyond Change, its social justice program, to youth and young adults throughout the country. The program was designed to assist law enforcement, youth, community organizations, and social justice experts in championing positive change through cooperation and community service.
“Our program is uniquely positioned to address social justice issues, community advancement, and public trust through the lens of college, career and life readiness and non-enforcement activities with police officers,” said Dr. Harper. “And with the funding support provided by the NFL Foundation Social Justice Matching Grant Program, we are able to scale up our social justice programming in an effort to create a model that can be implemented throughout all 32 NFL cities.”
Beyond Change’s summit will incorporate activities that focus on two of the three priority areas for the NFL Inspire Change initiative: education and economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform.
“I am appreciative of the support from the NFL community, especially the NFL Foundation who matched the donations of former players to The HOPE Initiative,” Byron Williams said. “I believe and know that this is an exciting time for us to continue to prepare young people to be challenged and ready for all of the opportunities presented to each one of them. Victory and life’s “Achievement” is on the horizon for our youth.”