Former Lions Running Back Organizes Detroit Freedom March

Joique Bell

Getty Joique Bell signs for a fan during a 2015 event in London, England.

Joique Bell is a hometown hero for the Detroit Lions having grown up in Michigan and attended college at Wayne State, and he is attempting to make a huge difference in his community.

Bell, touched by the events of the last few weeks, has organized a freedom march taking place on Friday, June 5 at Belle Isle in Detroit. The event is made to start the conversation that can help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

In a piece by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Bell opens up about his goals for the event. The former criminal justice major at Wayne State has a long history with his family in law enforcement, and that’s a big reason why he decided to make this event possible.

Birkett wrote:

“Bell, who ran for 2,241 yards in his NFL career, is planning a “freedom march” Friday on Belle Isle along with former Detroit mayoral candidate Ken Snapp that he hopes will be the springboard to stronger relationships between law enforcement and minority communities.

The rally starts at 3 p.m., and organizers will lead a silent march around the island at 4 p.m. to honor George Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed last week when a police officer spent nearly nine minutes kneeling on his neck.

“It isn’t just a march just to say we did it,” Bell said. “It’s to march and then to start a dialogue and to bridge that gap with the civilians who are Detroit citizens and also with the local police and the state police, and ultimately kind of be the staple of this is how you should go about creating a change.”

As Bell confirmed in the piece, the Lions have backed him up in terms of the planning and execution of the event with anything that he needs. Additionally, several players and folks from the organization plan to attend. The team has publicized the event on social media.

It’s wonderful to see Bell getting involved in a positive event that will truthfully help the Detroit community during a difficult time.

Joique Bell Stats

Bell was an elite player for Wayne State and latched on with the Lions in 2011 after bouncing around the league a bit in 2010. He stayed with Detroit for 5 years and rushed for 2,241 yards while rushing for 22 touchdowns. His stint in Detroit was the longest stop of his NFL career, and that was significant for Bell because he worked as a security guard for the team facility while in college. Playing for the Lions was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Bell returned to Detroit for his final stint with the team in 2016, when an injury ravaged Lions backfield needed a boost.

Lions Release Statement Regarding Social Injustice

Wednesday afternoon, the team put forth a statement to regarding what’s currently playing out in America. It read as follows:

“The painful examples of racism and social injustice reflected in the senseless deaths happening in our country are incredibly disturbing and it is clear that immediate change is necessary.

Over the last several days, it was important for our team to gather virtually so that the pain, confusion, anger and frustration that people are feeling could be shared as we attempt to process what is happening around us. This range of emotion has consumed the time we have spent together as a team this week. Our internal conversations have been powerful and emotional. We will continue to listen, support our players and learn as we press forward together.

Right is right and wrong is wrong. What is happening is not acceptable. We recognize that the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are only the most recent examples plaguing our communities. Our club vows to expand on the work already being done in the Detroit community – through real action and conversation – to help our team make an impact in areas of great need. We have a duty to lead these conversations now and always, but it is equally if not more important that we continue to LISTEN. The events over the past week are a hurtful reminder that we have a long way to go with inclusion, diversity and equality for all people.

We have a responsibility to create positive change.”

With the Lions, now all 4 of Detroit’s major sports teams have released strong takes on the situation currently taking place in America and the need for change.

By assisting this event, the Lions are putting their money and time where their mouth is.

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