Chicago athletes gather in Austin in hopes of bringing change

Bears Report

A number of Chicago athletes, led by former Bears linebacker Sam Acho, visited the Austin neighborhood on Thursday. (Courtesy: Chicago Bears)

CHICAGO – Since he’s been in the National Football League, the linebacker never been afraid to be blunt when it came to race relations in the United States.

While a member of the Bears and in his role as the team’s NFLPA representative, Sam Acho spoke often about anthem demonstrations that have occurred in the NFL starting with Colin Kaepernick in 2016. He pointed out often that it was done not as disrespect to the American flag, but rather to bring attention to injustices against African-Americans, especially when it came to police brutality.

Acho’s no longer a member of the Bears, but he continues to be a voice for social justice as the Vice President of the NFLPA’s executive committee. This week, he was back in Chicago, working with other professional athletes in the city to bring about change when it comes to issues of race.

These issues have been front and center after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.

Acho was joined by former teammates Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson along with eight others from around Chicago in the Austin neighborhood on Thursday.

They came together with local students and police for “Healing Circles” where they discussed issues going on at the moment with Chicago Police, Congressman Danny Davis, along with members of By the Hand, BUILD and Westside Health Authority.

Later they went on a tour of the neighborhood with Alderman Emma Mitts and members of By The Hand.

Jonathan Toews and Malcolm Subban of the Blackhawks, Jason Heyward and Jason Kipnis of the Cubs, Ryan Arcidiacono and Max Strus of the Bulls, and former Northwestern football players Tyler Lancaster and Austin Carr were all in attendance. Per the news release by the Bears, the White Sox were invited and wanted to be in the event, but a player wasn’t available to attend.

Heyward had this salute to Acho for organizing the event on Instagram, as the linebacker continues to be a voice for social justice in Chicago even after his time playing for the Bears.

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