On May 17, 2020, DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, answered a plea from the Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) a grass-roots, community-based initiative, in Philadelphia, for financial support to address the impact COVID-19 has made on its daily operations; and, the critical social justice and criminal justice advocacy it provides.
Sarah Morris, of YASP, stated that Covid-19 and executive orders required the staff to work from home; and, the subsequent #BlackLivesMatter protests made it difficult to get to the office because of the peaceful protests and street closures. YASP was seeking a mini-grant for general expenses to sustain operations until they could return to their office.
DeSean Jackson agreed to award YASP funds from the 2019 NFL Foundation Players’ Social Justice grant for $5,000.00 that the DeSean Jackson Foundation received; and, DeSean also offered to meet with YASP in the future to learn more about their advocacy and how he may assist in furtherance of their mission. Ms. Morris advised that YASP returned to their office on June 22, 2020 and provided a picture of the DJF check.
Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) Mission: Building a youth-led movement to end the practice of adjudicating and incarcerating young people as Adults. Through its work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated youth to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders within and beyond the prison walls. Young people who have been through the adult court system are at the forefront of YASP, leading the movement to keep young people out of adult prisons and to create possibilities for youth around the city.
YASP was a 2019 recipient of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Social Justice Fund grant for $10,000. The fund was established in 2018 to provide grants to organizations that work to reduce barriers to equal opportunity, with a specific focus on education, community and police relations, improving the criminal justice system and other initiatives targeting poverty, racial equality and workforce development in the Greater Philadelphia area. In just two years, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Social Justice Fund has provided area-based organizations with more than $858,000 in unrestricted general operating support.
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