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What Colin Kaepernick's activism means to the nonprofits he supports

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Kaepernick’s involvement with 100 Suits, a nonprofit that helps people who have been released from prison get back on their feet, means a lot more than the sum of his donation.

100suits/Instagram

The neglect quarterback-needy NFL teams have shown free agent Colin Kaepernick since the offseason started has given him more time to concentrate on his activism. Last Saturday, he spent part of that time passing out suits to people who have been released from prison and are looking for jobs. Kevin Livingston, the founder and president of the nonprofit organization 100 Suits for 100 Men, was there with him.

Kaepernick and Livingston met after he was on New York’s Hot 97 with Nessa last November. Nessa, who has been dating Kaepernick since 2015, told him about Livingston after he was on the show.

In February, Kaepernick invited Livingston and his 100 Suits Academy students to the Know Your Rights Camp that he hosts. Kaepernick provided the students with lunch, dinner, and even their own Beats by Dre headphones.

After the camp, Kaepernick followed up with Livingston while in New York.

“One of his team members said he wants to get back with you,” Livingston told SB Nation. “And you know, you hear that from everybody, but then I got a phone call Saturday morning saying, ‘Hey Kev, we wanted to meet with you.’”

It was Kaepernick on the phone.

“I didn’t know it was him,” Sterling said. “I had to go pick my daughter up as a matter of fact, and made him wait an hour. When I got there, a black SUV pulls up and he comes out.”

In the trunk of the SUV were two large boxes with 50 suits in each. Kaepernick dropped off the suits and posed for pictures with Livingston and others. While that was going on, a bus driver stopped traffic just to let him know that he cares about what the quarterback is doing.

They handed the suits out the 100 Suits office. Livingston said just four or five suits remained just four days later.

“It was pretty dope man,” Livingston said. “He’s a really humble guy.”

Community first !! 100suits & Colin Kaepernick @ Queens parole

A post shared by Kevin Element Livingston (@100suits) on

Kaepernick was drawn to 100 Suits and its mission of helping people get back on their feet. It goes beyond handing out business attire. While it started that way, Livingston found it wasn’t the best method.

“I wasn’t doing the right thing by my people by just giving them out a suit,” he said. “So we scaled back that part, and invested much more on the follow up service.” That service included the 100 Suits Academy, which teaches financial literacy as well as how and why to wear a suit.

“We have a whole curriculum behind it,” Livingston said. Students learn about entrepreneurialism and getting involved in the community. 100 Suits also has what Livingston described as the “male boutique model” where men released from prison are given free suits, haircuts, shoes, and mentoring sessions.

With regards to why he started 100 Suits, he said, “I tell people this all the time — it is so cliche. I actually care. I genuinely care.”

It’s a sentiment the two men share.

After last week’s visit, Kaepernick offered his continued support for the organization. “He did tell me if I needed him, he’d come out and support me,” Livingston said.

Kaepernick’s activism and the fact that he consistently speaks on issues in the black community resonates with Livingston.

“This man is putting his money where his mouth is and putting his platform where his mouth is. I think it’s wrong that he’s being blackballed in the NFL.”

On May 24, 100 Suits is holding a rally in front of NFL headquarters in New York. Livingston and other city groups will stand in solidarity with Kaepernick outside of league headquarters.

“He stood for us,” Livingston said, “it’s our responsibility to stand with him. He’s a hero for our community.

“A lot of people hate on Colin Kaepernick, and I just have four words for them: ‘What are you doing?’”