A powerful meeting played out at the Hard Rock Stadium between black youth and dozens of law enforcement officers. The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project teamed up with the Miami Dolphins Tuesday to host a police and youth conference. The event is designed to promote a positive interaction between young black men and law enforcement.
More than 600 high school students, who are members of the program, attended the conference along with officers from different police agencies, including Miami Gardens Police, Miami Beach Police, FBI and DEA.
The group assembled also took a moment to honor law enforcement and first responders for the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, works with community leaders to help black teen boys get on the path to success. The teens are mentored by prominent leaders in South Florida’s black community, including NBC 6 anchor Jawan Strader. Strader spoke at Tuesday’s event, encouraging students to continue their education to ensure a bright future. “Education is the key to success,” Strader told the mentees.
The teens participated in workshops and demonstrations with officers.
“In these workshops, the police and youth reverse roles to learn each other’s responsibilities, and how to respect each other and cut that tension," said Congresswoman Wilson. "To have the Dolphins, our hometown team, involved as well, and have them teaching a lesson to the children is just phenomenal.”
The program is part of the Dolphins’ RISE initiative – which is supported by a yearly fund for social justice programs. Several Fins players have been vocal about police brutality and racial inequality since the kneeling protest spread throughout the NFL last season.
Players Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas have worked with the team to create events that serve to bridge the gap between the black community and law enforcement. The Dolphins host CommUNITY Tailgates at every home game, allowing members of the 5000 Role Models and other members of the community to bond with players and law enforcement officers.