ABOUT THIS ENTRY
The events that happened in the summer of 2020 changed the way the Vikings approach social justice issues.
How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?
The team aimed to give the spotlight to our players and amplify their voices above anything else. Instead of a highly-produced piece of content, the shorter videos were raw and unscripted. The pain and frustration was evident in their voices, and left a deafening impact.
In addition to the reactions from the George Floyd killing, the players and the organization wanted to make their voices heard by encouraging others to vote. The team again chose to highlight player voices and their experiences voting. The videos show a variety of voters - some first time, some who have felt intimidated to vote - and tell a story of how valuable your vote is. The project was the first of its kind for the team.
Showcasing the donations of the Social Justice Committee was incredibly important in moving the needle. While the organization has always been committed to equality and social justice, it became incredibly important to highlight the players commitment in these areas and how involved they are in helping this community.
All of these projects remain ongoing and the Vikings hope to lead the way in creating meaningful change in our city and around the country.
Objective: George Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 at the hands of the Minneapolis police. The incident was captured on video and was quickly distributed on social media and national news outlets. The immediate outcry from the public sparked protests around the country for weeks into the summer. In the month that followed the Floyd shooting, Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, WI. With the nation at a tipping point, the Minnesota Vikings were compelled to speak out in support of racial equality, human rights and a better future for our youth.
The Vikings Entertainment Network in conjunction with Vikings players and ownership, wanted to launch a full-scale social justice campaign that addressed the growing inequality happening throughout the United States. What followed was a series of videos that showed the various initiatives the team would be supporting as a call to respond to the inequality in the community.
Strategy & Execution: In 2020, the team identified 3 areas of interest to focus on:
Voter education and registration
Vikings Entertainment Network worked with the players to put together a series of messages about the importance of voting, particularly in an Election Year where issues of social justice were on the line.
In June, the Vikings created the George Floyd Legacy Scholarship with a $125,000 endowment that will generate approximately $5,000 annually to benefit African American graduating seniors in Minneapolis-St. Paul who are pursuing post-secondary education. The inaugural recipient, Mimi Kol-Balfour, was selected following her essay submission and was informed via videoconference by Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf, General Manager Rick Spielman, running backs Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah, and linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.
Law enforcement and criminal justice reform
The Vikings expanded the teams' commitment to All Square, a local nonprofit social enterprise that invests in the minds and lives of formerly incarcerated individuals. In the fall of 2020, Social Justice Committee leader and Minnesota Vikings player Eric Kendricks presented All Square with $250,000 to further their work.
The Social Justice initiative started in 2020 by the players, coaches and staff of the Minnesota Vikings will have lasting impact on the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul community for decades to come. While these videos show the important work done this past year, there is much more yet to take place. The total $5 million dollar investment by the Wilf Family Ownership is already hard at work, with hundred of thousands of dollars already donated to local causes. In addition to the commitments already displayed, the Vikings will also invest and/or continue to invest in numerous social justice-oriented organizations, including Project Success, Hennepin County & Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Centers, Jeremiah Program, The Link, Page Education Foundation, People Serving People, and more.
The videos created for this campaign underscore the important work that the Vikings team has put together to further the dialogue surrounding racial equality. All of the videos were shared widely across social, digital, email and local and national media outlets, garnering hundreds of thousands of impressions.
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