Growing up outside Atlanta, Stephen Weatherly nearly 95% of his knowledge of African American history was learned at home, from his mother and grandmother. A lesson on the history of one's own race in America that stays true to the The Vikings defensive end came to watch Roots, the television miniseries based on the story of Kunta Kinte, a Gambian sold to an American slave owner. Weatherly was in college when he looked with his mother; it's she who explained to her the meaning of the famous scene in which Kunta Kinte is attached to a tree and orders to be beaten until it accepts the name Toby, that gave him his master of white slaves. remember her telling me that people who loved you gave you your name and that it's important that no one renames you because they can not get it. pronounce or, worse, do not respect you, "said Weatherly. "That's the main reason I do not like being called" Steve. "My name is" Stephen. "This comes from a black history lesson, and I'm not sure about it. Not going to learn it at the elementary school. " Weatherly, 24, remembers he learned some black history lessons at school, usually in February, which is designated as Black History Month. But they often featured the same small number of characters – among them Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, George Washington Carver and Sojourner Truth. "It's like, wow, the successes of all my people have come from those 20 to 30 people in all of history," he adds. "It's a bit of the perception you have, if you do not have it coming from another source."VRENTAS: NFL and social justice: what players and teams do in their communitiesLast fall, Weatherly participated in a program through The Vikings that aims to change the way African American history is taught in a dozen schools in Minnesota. This year, the NFL will begin to do so nationally, beginning with a digital African American history education program in 175 schools in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Montana. and North Carolina, located in areas of high poverty and disadvantaged areas. This project is one of the pieces of the NFL's new Inspire Change initiative today as part of the NFL's seven-year partnership for social justice agreed last year. and the Players Coalition. , a group of social change and advocacy for current and former players founded by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin. It includes a television spot that will air in the playoffs of the division this weekend, featuring the Bears social justice work in the Chicago area, and two new grants approved by a joint committee of player property ownership. the NFL: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which creates long-term mentorship relationships between adults and children, and Operation HOPE, which targets income inequality through free financial literacy programming, recovery and entrepreneurship. Its financial commitment to the social justice platform has grown to $ 8.5 million in 2018. Reaching $ 12 million in total by the year 2019; In addition, nearly $ 2 million in matching social justice grants were awarded to current and former clubs and players through the NFL Foundation. The Bears, for example, have raised more than $ 800,000 this season from five non-profit organizations in the Chicago area. "We expect that over the duration of the initiative," said a league spokesman, "we could exceed the $ 89 million reported". This figure represents a combination of national and local funding and would include both NFL funds and those generated by players and players. One of the elements of this program will help schools implement more comprehensive African-American history education programs than those developed by Weatherly and many of its contemporaries at no extra cost. for schools and students. The course was developed by Clayborne Carson, Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King Institute of Research and Education, Jr. in Stanford, and is offered by EverFi, a provider of digital curriculum. It revolves around modules that include vignettes of a person's story or event, and students complete a synthesis essay project at the end.

ACTIONS BEHIND THE PROTEST: In 2017, Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin explain why their protests.The Vikings have worked with a handful of local high schools to implement this course over the last three years, thanks in part to NFL Foundation funding. They customized the program with short introductory videos of Viking legends telling personal stories about their black experience in America. In a video, Carl Eller, a Hall of Fame supporter, tells of being denied service at the counter of a cafe where he wanted to buy a hamburger at 11 or 12 years old. He was told to go to the counter where blacks were served, but he decided not to spend his money there – an experience he had lived for about sixty years. Greg Coleman, one of the first black NFL bettors, tells how his peewee football team in Jacksonville won the city championship in his division and was hoping to play in the Gator Bowl. But his team was not allowed to play there, with the rest of the champions of the city, because of the skin color of the players. Coleman had trouble finishing the story because the memory was still stung. The experiences of current and former players can be integrated with programming from other states, in the same way, or through virtual meetings with students. Last November, Weatherly called via Skype from Viking facilities in a class with first-year and second-year students from two Twin Cities high schools that were currently attending the program. He asked them about facts about 10 different African-Americans that they learned and organized a question-and-answer session with the students: "It normalizes success for other groups than Anglophone men. Saxons, "says Weatherly, who studied sociology at Vanderbilt.Weatherly is actively involved in the Vikings' work on social justice, including two visits this fall to the Hennepin County Mining Detention Center in downtown Minneapolis. . During one of his visits, he and his partner Danielle Hunter spoke with a group of six young men and shared a message that the mistakes that led to them do not determine their future; another time, he played chess with a group of young women and listened to someone say a spoken word. The detention center is one of the local organizations that the team plans to support with the team-based social justice funds through this off season. "I noticed that more people would not have a direct impact on social justice issues," said Weatherly. . "It's no longer a problem" them "or a problem" these people "is a problem" everyone ". Now that the NFL has realized the problem, even if it was an accident, that's what we're going to do to be part of the solution and no longer be a spectator. I hope that with this extra boost from the NFL and NFL teams, we will be able to start seeing real changes in the communities. "Question or comment? Write to us talkback@themmqb.com.