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49ers Connect with the Local Incarcerated Community in Inspire Change Campaign 

OL Alfredo Gutierrez, TE Charlie Woerner, OL Ilm Manning, LB Curtis Robinson, Pastor Earl Smith, Jenna York, Mara York
OL Alfredo Gutierrez, TE Charlie Woerner, OL Ilm Manning, LB Curtis Robinson, Pastor Earl Smith, Jenna York, Mara York

In honor of the NFL's Inspire Change campaign, the San Francisco 49ers have committed to making a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals affected by the prison system within their local community. Spearheaded by the NFL, the Inspire Change initiative seeks to break down barriers to opportunity, particularly in communities of color, demonstrating the collective effort of the NFL family to drive positive change at various levels of the league.

The 49ers dedication to the Inspire Change campaign exemplifies their commitment to using their influence to drive positive change and contribute to building a more equitable society.

Earlier in the season, the 49ers hosted a discussion at Levi's® Stadium with 10 formerly detained men from San Quentin and Pelican Bay State Prison. Led by the team's chaplain, Pastor Earl Smith, the conversation delved into life issues, offering players and staff valuable insights into the challenges faced by those who have been through the justice system.

This unique initiative allowed for an exchange of perspectives, with players sharing their own life experiences and seeking ways to leverage their platforms for supporting individuals affected by the justice system.

"Just seeing the other side of it, seeing guys still developing, still having faith, still having hope, still dreaming of doing other things that can take their mind off of what it is at that moment," offensive lineman Spencer Burford said. "I feel like that was the biggest privilege, just sharing those experiences with them and really just talking with them as people. Just because you're incarcerated doesn't mean anything specifically – people have a bad narrative of people that are in that situation and the things they did to get in that situation. You can still change. Just talking to them was absolutely the biggest thing."

The San Francisco 49ers hosted a group of 10 men who have been involved in the justice system for a special afternoon at Levi's® Stadium and discussion on social justice.

Then, just a couple months later, the team visited San Quentin State Prison. The 49ers and Smith have visited San Quentin every year since he joined the franchise in 1997, with the exception of two years during the pandemic. The visit began with a social justice discussion, featuring a panel of incarcerated individuals and 49ers players, providing an opportunity for an open dialogue on issues related to the justice system.

Following the discussion, players embarked on a tour of the prison, gaining insights into the educational programs and career training courses available to incarcerated individuals participating in the program. This immersive experience not only fostered understanding but also highlighted the potential for positive transformation within the prison system.

In addition to their commitment to social justice discussions, the 49ers took a step beyond by spreading joy to the children of incarcerated men at San Quentin State Prison. Recognizing the challenges faced by these families, holiday gifts for over 40 children, nieces and nephews of the incarcerated individuals were distributed during a special visitation period. The day concluded with a heartwarming holiday party in the visiting room, where players joined the children and their incarcerated fathers, creating lasting memories and fostering a sense of community.

Through the team's engaging conversations, prison visits and community outreach, the 49ers have continued to demonstrate that their presence and resources can be used as a platform for social change and unity.

San Francisco 49ers players visited San Quentin State Prison to engage with the incarcerated community and hold valuable discussions about social justice.

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