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Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills hasn’t been shy about sharing his thoughts – and his time – when it comes to issues of social injustice and racial inequality.
Yes, Stills was one of the Dolphins who kneeled during the playing of the national anthem, but he’s also been a consistent face in the community where he works, doing what he can to uplift individuals and bridge the divide between law enforcement officers and those they are meant to serve and protect.
This offseason, Stills took his works on the road.
On Tuesday night, he posted a long thread on Twitter, calling it a “mini-journal” of a road trip he took through the southern states “to see the work being done in the fight for equality and social justice.” He limited his phone use because he wanted to be fully present for his experiences.
Stills and his friend, Mike, who accompanied him on the trip, rented a small RV and set out from Miami. They had planned a kickoff event, but that was scrapped when they heard of a prison reform protest in Tallahassee the next day. The two made the over seven-hour trip overnight to get there in time.
Stills took part in the protest in the state’s capital, and noted it was his first time on the “front lines” of such action, which he called empowering.
Next, the pair traveled to Atlanta to see The King Center, then detoured to Los Angeles briefly, where Stills took part in a panel discussion with Athletes for Impact with Dr. John Carlos, most known for his protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, a bronze-medal winning fencer at the 2016 Olympics.
Then it was on to Charlotte for the Women’s March, speaking with students in Lexington at the Lexington Leadership Foundation and the football team at Frederick Douglass High, then more young men at George Washington Carver High in Memphis.
Stills said he offered himself as a resource to those teenagers, and he’s been maintaining a dialogue with them.
While he was in Memphis, he also visited the National Civil Rights Museum, at the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was murdered on April 4, 1968.
Then came a trip to New Orleans, where Stills began his NFL career in 2013. There, he took part in a session of Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights camp with 400 young people.
One of the most powerful days for Stills, he wrote, was the day spent in Selma, Ala., when he crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge, site of Bloody Sunday, when hundreds of peaceful protesters attempting to march to Montgomery were beaten and tear-gassed. Several weeks later, the protest march proceeded successfully over the bridge and to Montgomery.
In all, Stills made 10 stops; his journey also ended in Montgomery.
“One of my biggest takeaways is how valuable our time is to others,” he wrote of his experiences. “Next time you go to write a check think about volunteering your time instead. Mentorship is the most direct route to impacting the next generation.”
The 25-year old Stills said new friendships were made and new doors opened for ways that he can continue to help communities in need.