NFL linebacker Sam Acho has decided to do what he can to help the United States heal from the unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Acho organized a community event in Chicago last week at the By the Hand Club for Kids, which brought young people from the city, professional athletes and police officers together to talk, listen and heal.
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Along with Acho, the other athletes in attendance were Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson of the Bears, Ryan Arcidiacono and Max Strus of the Bulls, Jason Heyward and Jason Kipnis of the Cubs, and Jonathan Toews and Malcolm Subban of the Blackhawks. Tyler Lancaster and Austin Carr, both Northwestern alums now in the NFL, also participated.
“I gathered a couple guys from each team. It was like Noah’s Ark, two-by-two,” Acho said on the team’s official site. “We listened to the kids and what they’re going through and listened to their heart, talked to some police officers as well and just listened and learned, and tried to find out what we could do to help change the city.”
After the group participated in “healing circles” that gave everyone the opportunity to express their feelings, they all boarded a bus to take a tour of the neighborhood.
Acho said the following day in an Instagram post that he too learned a lot from the experience:
View this post on Instagram
Yesterday was special. I’ve been angry. Amidst all the turmoil that our country is in, something needed to be done. Then God gave me an idea. Bring together heroes from every Chicago Sports team, gather the police as well, and listen. Listen to the kids who’s neighborhoods have been affected. Listen to the pain and anguish that this division, OUR division, has caused. Just listen… and learn. And I oh did I learn. I learned that we all have more in common than we think. I learned that some cops are good good men, though they get bad raps. I learned that these kids, OUR kids, are tired. They need our help. They need hope. So we committed. To use our resources, influence and our time, to change the world. One city at a time. Thank you to @jonathantoews @mtrubisky10 @allenrobinson12 @jheylove22 @jasonkipnis22 @maxstrus @ry_arch15 @brittneypayton @ayeseeme @lanny6767 for showing up. Can’t wait for the next adventure. ✌🏾 #athletesforjustice @chicagobears 🐻 @chicagobulls @cubs @nhlblackhawks @northwesternu @bythehandclub @buildchicago
“I learned that we all have more in common than we think,” his post said in part. “I learned that some cops are good good men, though they get bad raps. I learned that these kids, OUR kids, are tired. They need our help. They need hope. So we committed. To use our resources, influence and our time, to change the world. One city at a time.”
Acho said Americans will need to work together to fix the country’s problems.
“The state that America is in is we’re divided,” Acho said on the team’s website. “It seems like it’s a white-versus-black problem, but it’s really not. It’s really an everyone-versus-racism, everyone-versus-hate, everyone-versus-fear problem.”
The 31-year-old Acho, a Texas native and University of Texas graduate who played four years with the Bears from 2015-2018, has also been vocal for years about the healing power of Christ. His Twitter bio says, “I am loved by God, the creator of the Universe, the First and the Last. If everything else goes away, He is enough.”
In an interview with The Increase from 2018, Acho shared how God has been working in his life.
“God has been pruning me and teaching me to be more like Him. I often realize just how far I am from His perfection but my distance is overshadowed by the grace of God,” he said
Acho has also been featured on the Sports Spectrum Podcast a couple of times, most recently in 2019.
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