Police brutality and gun violence are being highlighted in a series of powerful public service announcements that launch today.
The first video unveiled tells the story of 20-year-old Danroy “DJ” Henry, a college football star who was killed nine years ago by police near Mount Pleasant, New York. The PSAs are part of a new initiative by Philadelphia Eagles safety, Malcolm Jenkins, and the Players Coalition to raise awareness of police brutality and racial inequities.
Several years after Colin Kaepernick drew attention to police brutality and racial injustice by taking a knee during the National Anthem, Jenkins and the Players Coalition are picking up the torch by launching “The Responsibility Program” to inform football enthusiasts on these longstanding and persistent issues.
Henry was gunned down by police on Oct. 17, 2010, while they were allegedly responding to a disturbance. Somehow the student became their target.
They claimed that DJ was shot because the car he was driving in sped up, and that he tried to run people over instead of stopping. Witnesses painted a different picture, saying the officer was the aggressor and shot DJ unjustly. This claim was ultimately backed up by another officer, who came forward and told the truth with video footage shot at the time of the incident.
At the time of his killing, Henry played football at Pace University with dreams of going pro.
DJ’s PSA is narrated by his mother, Angella.
“Never in a million years would we have thought this could have happened to us, and it continues to happen to so many other families,” Angella says in the video. “Our son is everybody’s son. We need to do more to create change.”
In 2017, Mount Pleasant officials finally issued a public apology for DJ’s murder.
DJ’s PSA is the first of many to be released by the Players Coalition over the next few weeks. The videos are told through the eyes of parents whose children were the victims of police brutality and gun violence.
Jenkins, the co-founder of the Players Coalition and the star Eagles’ safety, issued a statement on the project saying “we have a responsibility to use our platforms to unite people and foster positive change in our communities, but we can’t achieve that goal without education. We want this PSA to generate productive dialogue between people of all backgrounds, so we can start to bridge the communication gap and work together to end these injustices.”