The Steelers have taken part in the NFL's social justice platform, Inspire Change, and this year the league introduced the Inaugural Inspire Change Changemaker Award, which recognizes an individual from every NFL city who is making a difference in their communities through social justice work, either individually or as part of a non-profit organization.
The recipient of the Steelers Inspire Change Changemaker Award is Anna Hollis, the Executive Director of Amachi Pittsburgh. Hollis, and the other 31 winners, will receive a $10,000 donation courtesy of the NFL Foundation for their charity.
Hollis has served as the Executive Director of Amachi Pittsburgh for the past 17 years, leading the organization that is a partnership of secular and faith-based organizations working together to support children and families impacted by the criminal justice system.
"Amachi has done so much great work in criminal justice reform in this area," said Blayre Holmes-Davis, the Steelers Director of Community Relations. "When people think of criminal justice reform, one thing that gets forgotten is the whole family structure and thinking of the kids, the moms, and what does that look like altogether.
"The criminal justice system is complex and there are multiple levels that need to be changed, and Anna has done so much transformational work to make sure the children are supported and making sure as people are re-entering the community, it's not just focusing on the person who was incarcerated but the entire family structure, how are we making sure the children are adjusting while the mother or father are in jail. How are we making sure they are supported as far as school supplies, mentoring, but also understanding the criminal justice system as a whole and how reform needs to happen. So, empowering them to say this might have happened to someone in their family, but how can they as a youth advocate, talk to elected officials, what can they do at local level to advocate for criminal justice reform."
Hollis was surprised when she was given the $10,000 donation from the NFL Foundation for her organization, something she said gives her encouragement to keep doing the work she is doing.
"It really means a great deal in that it shows how much people care about the difficult work that we do," said Hollis. "It's not easy and it's not quick. Social justice work is something we commit to for the long term. There is no ending point. There are goals along the way. When someone makes this kind of investment in the work we do, it means keep going for me, keep doing what you are doing, keep fighting for what is right for our kids and community. It's encouragement."