When the idea of hosting the Julius Peppers Charity Sneaker Ball came up, the retired Carolina Panther was excited to celebrate Charlotte and have the opportunity to raise money for local organizations doing amazing work in the community. One such organization is the Center for Community Transitions.
“I am someone whose family has been impacted by incarceration, as most of us have been, so I was excited to partner with them and their mission to support families who have had a loved one incarcerated and also assisting people to get them re-acclimated upon their release,” Peppers said April 5 at Bank of America Stadium.
Peppers presented $10,000 checks to CCT, Young Black Leadership Alliance and the Girl Talk Foundation. Charis Blackmon, Families Doing Time program director, accepted the check on behalf of CCT.
“We are elated to be here today and are extremely grateful to have the Sneaker Ball contribution in support of our work for individuals and families who are impacted by incarceration,” she said.
Blackmon noted on any given day, there are 5,000 children in Mecklenburg County who have a loved one in prison and oftentimes it’s the male who’s missing at home.
“To be able to be connected with Julius and the Carolina Panthers is extremely impactful … and has helped amplify the voices of those children. (From this) platform, Julius has raised awareness of parental incarceration in Charlotte.”
Blackmon also addressed some common misunderstandings about people who have been incarcerated and encouraged attendees to use their voices to help.
“One of the main misconceptions is that it’s easy to re-enter society. They serve time, get released and have a new opportunity. But, that has not been the case. It’s hard for them to get employment, it’s hard for them to find housing, it’s difficult for them to reunify with their families,” she said.
“If you have access to housing and employment opportunities, use your voice and make sure you can leverage that to assist those who are re-entering because they do deserve a second chance.”
To see more check presentation photos, visit the Carolina Panthers photo page.