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Colin Kaepernick, Torrey Smith host events to help improve the lives of Bay Area, Baltimore youths

The bye week provided a chance for Torrey Smith and Colin Kaepernick to work with vulnerable youth groups.

Fooch’s update: Here are links to the three articles about Kap’s camp:

Marc Spears, The Undefeated
Marcus Thompson, Bay Area News Group
Shaun King, New York Daily News

The San Francisco 49ers are on a bye this week, with players getting the week off from practice. They will return to practice on Monday, but in the meantime players have been traveling far and wide. Some players are enjoying a quick vacation, while others like Vance McDonald spent time at home with new kids. However, Torrey Smith and Colin Kaepernick each conducted important events that go beyond the world of sports.

Earlier this week, Smith hosted a panel discussion at Dunbar High School in Baltimore. Smith was active, but let a variety of individuals speak to the many problems in Baltimore for the youth population. The panel included a Baltimore police officer, a pastor, a hip-hop DJ, and a Baltimore City Public Schools official, among others. Students were in attendance, and Torrey Smith and his wife Chanel spoke with them to figure out how they could better help the vulnerable youth population. There was an exchange of information to help people connect beyond just this discussion.

On Saturday, Kaepernick conducted a camp in Oakland with black and Latino youth. New York Daily News columnist Shaun King, Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson, and ESPN’s Marc Spears were invited to check out the event. You can read King’s recap here. Thompson will have his own column coming soon, and Spears had this one-on-one interview with Kaepernick.

The camp was called “I Know My Rights.” It was inspired by the Black Panther Party’s 10 point plan. Kaepernick wore a Black Panther Party t-shirt to the podium following last week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. October 15 marked the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Black Panther Party, and that coupled with this camp would explain his decision to wear the t-shirt.

Kaepernick’s camp adjusted the 10 point plan to ten rights, as follows:

1. You have the right to be free.
2. You have the right to be healthy.
3. You have the right to be brilliant.
4. You have the right to be safe.
5. You have the right be loved.
6. You have the right to be courageous.
7. You have the right to be alive.
8. You have the right to be trusted.
9. You have the right to be educated.
10. You have the right to know your rights.

The camp involved education about financial literacy, pursuing higher education, and being physically fit and healthy. Kaepernick told the campers there would be discussions, “about police brutality, and what to do about it, but we also have lawyers, professors, health and fitness experts, because we want you to be able to live the life of your dreams."

King details the camp in his article, but it involved a variety of breakout sessions with various “leaders and experts.” None of it was about sports, but instead was about helping these kids prepare for life.

Some folks have complained about the National Anthem protestors not doing more. While there are plenty of issues to resolve, Kaepernick, Smith, and other black players are putting their money where their mouth is and attempting to make an impact in the lives of youths. It is a long and involved process that probably won’t be resolved in our life time, but seeing these men use their celebrity status to help try and improve people’s lives is great to see. And I imagine, this is only the beginning for these athletes.