Malcolm Jenkins received the Vanguard Social Justice Award in a ceremony Monday at the McSilver Institute in New York. The Eagles safety was honored as a staunch advocate for social justice reform and joined on stage by fellow award-winners, including Philly rapper Meek Mill and Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani.
The award recognizes those “outstanding individuals who are transforming systems to address the needs of individuals, families, and communities living in poverty, locally and globally.” Jenkins was cited for his work through his eponymous Malcolm Jenkins Foundation.
It ended a whirlwind day for Jenkins after reports surfaced in the morning that he wouldn’t be reporting to Eagles mandatory minicamp. However, those reports soon proved unfounded as the 11-year veteran arrived at the team’s practice facility ahead of schedule. He also snuck in a quick trip to talk to students at Kipp Amp Middle School in Brooklyn. Jenkins has long been known for giving back to the community.
Meanwhile, his buddy Meek Mill — an ardent supporter of the Philadelphia Eagles — gave an impassioned speech about the difficulties growing up in poverty and being surrounded by drugs and violence. Meek spoke from the heat, referring to street life as a “religion” and said he was “pulled back in by probation.”
Meek Mill has been incredibly vocal about his Eagles fandom. The team won a Clio Award for the hype award they collaborated on with the rapper. He has often been seen sporting Eagles gear and watched their Super Bowl victory from a jail cell. The Eagles adopted his hit track “Dream and Nightmares” as their anthem in 2018.
In the process, Jenkins struck up a meaningful relationship with Meek Mill and spoke out on his behalf, specifically for moving away from punitive sentences and locking people up for “things that don’t make our communities safer.”
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“He [Meek Mill] was sentenced two years for popping a wheelie,” Jenkins told Philly Voice. “It’s an example of just how ridiculous sometimes our system can be and how we’re wasting resources, talent, money and locking people up for things that don’t make our communities safer.”