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'Huddle for Change': Super Bowl LV host committee launches systemic justice initiatives around Tampa Bay

Huddle for Change is a six-part series that includes programs on community policing and financial literacy.

TAMPA, Fla. — Super Bowl LV is about more than just a game. It's about the community. 

In partnership with Community Tampa Bay, USF and NFL Inspire Change, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee has launched "Huddle for Change" a six-part series aimed at tackling systemic justice initiatives. 

Huddle for Change falls under the Forever 55 Legacy Program's Systemic Justice pillar, one of six designed to give back to the Tampa Bay community and leave a lasting impact, long after the Super Bowl has been played. 

A financial literacy program, in partnership with United Way Suncoast and PNC Bank, will be introduced as part of the series. According to a release, "the program will provide financial coaching and match savings incentives for 20 pre-identified families that are motivated to enhance their financial skills and build or rebuild a foundation for future success."

Those who participate in the program will get training, support services and resources to "help meet their financial goals" while also "learning essential savings and investing strategies," the release said.

Another program in the series will focus on community policing. The host committee says this initiative "aims  to build a collaborative environment between youth and law enforcement, particularly those in Black and Brown communities."

Derrick Brooks Charities will host "community-police relationship" events as part of the program focused "on bridging gaps, improving communication, and fostering relationships," according to a release. 

“Our Systemic Justice Advisory Committee played an integral role in the launch of these dynamic programs and developing problem-solving strategies that will strengthen and unify our community forever,“ said Claire Lessinger, chief operating officer of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee. “We are extremely proud of the work that has been done but we can’t wait to track the everlasting impact these initiatives will have on our community, for years to come.”

10 Tampa Bay spoke to USF student-athlete and philanthropist KJ Sails who said the George Floyd protests sparked his drive to help communities move forward together and his involvement in the series.

"That really lit a spark in me. I thought maybe I do need to use my voice and get out of my comfort zone and become more of a leader in my community because people really need someone who is going to lead, no matter what color and race, to lead and that's what we are missing in our country right now," Sails said.

Huddle for Change will look to encourage community-wide dialogue and draw from recent studies that take a closer look at the Tampa Bay area. Community Tampa Bay will specifically partner with local grassroots activists, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, corporations, and business leaders to discuss the findings.

The goal is to find "tangible action steps" our community can take to eliminate systemic injustices.

"The six-part series is designed to intentionally engage humans (of all ages) in cross-cultural interaction with those who don’t look like them, live like them or love like them and will have a positive impact on relationships across identities and reduce behaviors informed and perpetuated by stereotypes," according to a press release.

The following topics will be addressed during the series: 

  • The wealth gap
  • Mental health
  • Physical health and wellness
  • Criminal justice system
  • Education

Huddle for Change will kick off at 4 p.m. on Jan. 18 in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

You can learn more about Forever 55 and its six community-focused pillars by clicking here.

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