Posts Tagged ‘Jason Jenkins’

Dolphins Honor SAVE Executive Director, LGBTQ Activist Tony Lima

Monday, September 24th, 2018
SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima (right) poses with Dolphins senior executive Jason Jenkins.

On Sunday, in a pregame ceremony on the Hard Rock Stadium field, the Miami Dolphins named SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.

Surrounded by members of SAVE – South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to protecting people of the LGBTQ community against discrimination – and Dolphins Senior V.P. of Communications and Community Affairs Jason Jenkins, Lima proudly help up a crystal glass trophy and aqua No. 18 jersey bearing his last name on the back.

“As the longest-serving LGBT rights organization in the state, for SAVE, this is a huge honor,” Lima said. “We’ve been working so hard for the last 25 years to bring full equality to Floridians. With the Football Unites program, the Dolphins are not only celebrating and (being) inclusive of the LGBT community, but … are helping other organizations with incredible diversity, work on social justice as a whole.”

With a bigger platform to shine a light on longstanding issues of inequality and discrimination, Lima is hopeful the recognition will allow SAVE to reach an even wider audience.

“What’s most exciting for me, is that the Dolphins did this in front of 70,000 people who may not know that SAVE is out there doing the work that we do,” he said. “They may now have more of an open heart and an open mind to understand why it’s important to be inclusive of the LBGT community.”

During his five-year tenure with the organization, Lima, a Miami-born Cuban American, has focused on community outreach and advocating for policy change. Through the Prejudice Reduction Program, SAVE has spread its core mission of positive change through educational forums and business meetings.

Under Lima’s leadership, SAVE has made its most significant strides toward achieving equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities throughout the organization’s 25-year history. In 2015, Lima championed SAVE in its successful federal suit against the state of Florida to legalize same-sex marriage, and in the year prior, lobbied for nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals at the Miami-Dade County Commission.

SAVE has helped elect a record 75 pro-equality government leaders, as well as implemented a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model aimed to reduce prejudice against the community.

“The model that we came up with is a deep-canvasing model, where in 12- to 15-minute conversations with a voter, it’s been proven scientifically that we can change their hearts and minds,” Lima said. “Just by having inclusive conversations, where people understand that they may have been discriminated (against) at some point, as well, and can see the connection between that and discriminating against the community. The great thing is that model is being used now across the country for not only LGBT rights, but women’s rights and immigrant rights, on a bunch of different levels and issues.”

SAVE is a grant recipient of the Dolphins Football Unites program, created by Owner Stephen Ross and players to help South Florida individuals and organizations maximize their impact and engagement. Through the launch of the program, the team is supporting SAVE’s campaign to reduce prejudice and expand the list of supportive community members.

“In this day and age, in this political climate, it’s not only about one community,” Lima said. “It’s about all the intersections that make up our community, whether that’s being a person of color, being a woman or being an immigrant. We have to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and help uplift each other’s narratives.”

To learn more and make a donation, visit save.lgbt or connect with SAVE on Facebook.

Dolphins Aim to Unite Community Through Football

Monday, September 10th, 2018
Dolphins executive Jason Jenkins (center) greets members of NOBLE at Sunday’s Football Unites Tailgate.

Two hours before the Miami Dolphins kicked off the 2018 season on the field, the organization proudly launched the third year of its Football Unites Tailgate – a Stephen Ross-led initiative aimed to fortify relationships between local community leaders, youth and law enforcement – outside the Hard Rock Stadium gates.

Hip-hop music blared through the speakers as a throng of young fans skipped their way past the Joe Robbie Statue, around a decorative white picket fence and inside a reserved section at the North East Plaza. With a backdrop of colorful murals overlooking the festivities, early attendees lined up for lunch at the hot meal stations before spinning the knobs at an oversized Dolphins-themed foosball table.

Each year, the camaraderie, food and entertainment have brought together diverse groups to the pre-game celebrations, which also provide educational components intended to spark conversation and build positive relationships between fans of different races, genders, sexual orientation and identities.

“Our owner, Stephen Ross, created RISE – Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality – and with that, his goal is to use sports to drive social progress and make meaningful change,” said Jason Jenkins, Dolphins Senior V.P. of Communications and Community Affairs. “So, there’s going to be a lot of fun, but there are also educational opportunities designed to bring people together and learn about each other. They’re going to do a scavenger hunt, they’re going to have discussions and they’re going to talk about themselves. We want to bring all these diverse groups together that make up the culture of South Florida, with sports as that backdrop.”

Over a dozen organizations have partnered with the Dolphins, including 5,000 Role Models, North Miami Beach Police Athletic League, Urban League of Broward and NOBLE, whose leaders have recognized the program’s immense impact on their community.

“This initiative is great because it gives the kids an opportunity to come out and mingle with each other, and also meet with officers,” said Timothy Belcher, who serves as President of NOBLE, P.A.L. Coordinator and a mentor with 5,000 Role Models. “We’re trying to bridge the gap between the officers and the youth, to make this a better [community] for everybody. We want to teach our kids responsibility and direction as far as being successful in life.”

The tailgate is one of a handful of initiatives that culminated from a 2016 town hall co-hosted by the Dolphins and R.I.S.E., during which players – lead by Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster and Jelani Jenkins – and local leaders addressed ways to combat issues of racial inequality and community discord.

“We brought in community members, law enforcement, our players and our executive staff,” Jenkins said. “It was really about, what can we do to bring about positive change and maybe serve as an example for others throughout the country? Everyone came in with a positive vibe and an open mind. They listened to each other’s points of view, and asked, ‘What are some actual things that we can do?’”

At the suggestion of law enforcement officials, Dolphins players – most recently, Davon Godchaux and Kenyan Drake – have participated in ride-alongs throughout the community with local officers as a sign of unity.

In addition, the Dolphins have arranged cultural tours and created scholarship programs, while continuing to welcome organizations championing human rights and community justice each gameday.

“It’s really about this theme that football can unite people,” Jenkins said. “We all want the same thing. The police officers, all they want to do is come home to their families. All the community wants is to live in a society where they’re not judged by their race, sex, gender orientation or identity … We want to make South Florida healthier, educated and more united. We feel events like these can help us with that goal.”

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