When NFL running back Marshawn Lynch isn’t breaking through tackles on the football field, he’s breaking barriers for underserved communities. Lynch has continually used his platform as an avenue to give back to his hometown of Oakland, California. According to CBS Sports, he’s now leading an effort to address gentrification in the community that he was born and raised in.
During a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Lynch shared that he would use his earnings to buy real estate in Oakland in an effort to ensure that individuals who have been in the community for decades won’t be pushed out of their home, the news outlet writes. He shared that witnessing the effects of gentrification and seeing the displacement of people from the community that he called home prompted him to take action.
“It’s basically when, for me, it’s a lot of white people come move into the hood and kick everybody out that’s there. I’ve been a witness of it since I was a small jitterbug so I mean now that I’m grown up and I’m seeing it, I understand it a little more,” he said during the interview with Maher, according to the news outlet. During the conversation, Lynch also delved into how sports and activism are intertwined, mentioning how using his platform in the NFL to spread awareness about social injustice doesn’t make him unpatriotic.
Lynch’s plan to fight gentrification and provide equitable housing for people from his community is just one of many of his philanthropic efforts. Last year, his mobile device company Beast Mobile teamed up with Fam1st Family Foundation to create an initiative called Phones for the Homeless where 3,000 homeless people on the West Coast received smartphones and three months of free service. Through the initiative, users were able to stay in touch with their loved ones and the data was used to examine the habits and whereabouts of homeless individuals to find better ways to serve that population.