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Former Panther Thomas Davis donates to dads' bail fund
$100,000 gift is a call to activism
Published Friday, June 19, 2020 5:14 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Grammy-nominated rapper DaBaby hosted a panel discussion on social justice Friday at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture. Former Carolina Panther Thomas Davis donated $100,000 to bail out dads as a Father's Day gesture.

Thomas Davis felt called to donate $100,000 to bail out dads in the Mecklenburg County jail for Father’s Day.

The former Carolina Panthers player participated in a panel today at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, which was hosted by Vance High School alumnus and Grammy nominated rapper DaBaby.  Kristie Puckett-Williams, a Charlotte activist and Statewide Campaign for Smart Justice manager for the ACLU of North Carolina, spoke to her desire to help fathers make bail for Father’s Day and reuniting them with their families by providing them with the means on June 20 at noon.

“Sitting here right now and listening to everybody speak, I feel like I’ve been called to take action again,” said Davis, who signed with Washington’s NFL team in the offseason. “I haven’t discussed this with my wife and we’ll talk about it later, but in hearing that they want to get these dads out, I think it’s very important in having them be home with their families from a bail standpoint.”

Said Puckett-Williams: “It feels like we’re being heard. We’ve been saying forever that we have the answers to the issues in the community. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the power that other people have. What we’ve been asking for is a reallocation of resources back to the community, and what you saw today was Thomas Davis doing that. I’m an individual. He pledged $100,000 not to an organization, but to an individual who is doing some work. This movement of bail-work is happening all across the country.”

Puckett-Williams knows the struggle of incarceration because bail could not be met. She is a domestic violence survivor, recovering addict and now in a position to do for others what was not done for her.

“As somebody who sat inside a cage for a very long time because I couldn’t afford to get out, it feels really good to be able to do for other people what I wasn’t able to do for me. I’m just excited,” she said. “Tomorrow at 12 p.m., I hope everyone comes out and watches the fathers come home for Father’s Day. We’re also going to provide them with resources. A lot of them haven’t seen their children in a long time. We want to make sure they have what they need to feel whole as parents when they get home.”  

Davis acknowledged that while a monetary contribution does not fix the system, it is his way to help fight injustice.

“I’m pledging $100,000 to help with their cause,” he said. “I’ve been put in situations where I’ve been extremely blessed, and I’m going into my 16th year in my profession. To be able to say that when the average career is two and a half years and what I’ve gone through from an injury standpoint [three knee reconstructions] is truly amazing.”
Even professional athletes are not exempt from racial bias, Davis said. When the jersey comes off, and they aren’t on the field, prejudice continues, which is why he feels called to create change.

“I know from a financial standpoint I can do it,” Davis said. “I challenge anybody that can to give, to help. We’re going to keep fighting this fight. It’s not about just sitting back and hearing things. It’s about taking action. That’s what I decided we’re going to do today.”

Organizations supporting bail work:
The Bail Project https://bailproject.org
National Bail Fund Network https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org
North Carolina Community Bail Fund https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory


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