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49ers Players Join Local High School Students for a Cultural Tour of Black-Owned Restaurants

DL Clelin Ferrell
DL Clelin Ferrell

In honor of the NFL's Inspire Change campaign, San Francisco 49ers players joined high school students from local social justice non-profits for a Cultural Tour of Bay Area Black-owned small businesses presented by United Airlines.

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.

The local non-profits represented at the 49ers Cultural Tour, the San Jose African American Community Service Agency (AACSA), RYSE Center and Student Program for Academic and Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT), are all San Francisco 49ers social justice grant partners. Together, the students and players enjoyed cuisines from five local Black-owned restaurants and were given Cultural Tour "passports" to guide them on their food journeys. As the attendees stopped at each small business, they received a stamp for sampling the food and learning about the background of the company.

49ers Inspire Change Cultural Tour

"It's really awesome because we get to show people who look like them what's possible," defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. "A lot of times, kids growing up in these neighborhoods don't get to see positive examples of people who are successful and that look like them since there's not that many Black-owned businesses. Youth seeing their success can spark their interest and also give them hope of what reality can look like for them in the future."

The Bay Area Black-owned small businesses featured in the 49ers Cultural Tour were The Vegan Hood Chefs from San Francisco, Jackie’s Place, The Giving Pies, Island Taste and Nirvana Soul from San Jose. The players and students tried a variety of cuisines from cajun, Caribbean and soul food and tasted sweet treats like pies and lattes.

"We had some great food," linebacker Oren Burks said. "Great coffee, different desserts, treats and everything. I'll definitely be taking some home, for sure. It's so cool to see how everybody's poured into this."

Following the food tour, the group heard from representatives of the African American Community Service Agency who shared a lesson on the Bay Area's African American history.

With full plates and engaging conversations around social justice, the 49ers players, local high schoolers and small businesses celebrated the Black culture of the Bay Area.

49ers players embarked on an Inspire Change Cultural Tour presented by United Airlines at the San Jose African American Community Service Agency to explore Black-owned Bay Area small businesses.

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