Sheldrick Redwine knows first-hand how differently Black Americans are sometimes treated in society.
Redwine, a second-year safety, is passionate about voicing his feelings, frustrations and experiences with others about the hardships he's felt as a normal citizen. That's why he was one of 11 players selected on the Browns' social justice committee, which helped organize a team meeting after a shortened practice Thursday for a discussion on social justice issues in the country.
"Being Black in America is tough," Redwine said Friday in a Zoom conference with local reporters. "I go to the store – I've got dreads and tattoos – I get followed around stores. I've had run-ins with the police where I felt like I've been treated unfairly. This is something that I've been passionate about my whole life because I've dealt with it my whole life."
Redwine kept those experiences in mind for Thursday's team meeting, which was scheduled after several professional sports teams and leagues postponed games and practices to reflect on racial injustice and systemic racism issues in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
"I'm just waiting for a plan to go into action," Redwine said. "I'm just trying to find change. To be honest, it's a frustrating topic for a black man, living how we're living. It's something that has gone on for so long. There have been repetitive attempts (in the country) to try and stop this and bring change. It seems like the way everything is structured is like resistance toward change. It's just about a consistent push on trying to make that change happen."
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Redwine has become a leader with Browns for his eagerness to voice feelings and create positive actions around the community. At 23 years old, he's the youngest player in the Browns' social justice committee and has already started his own foundation — the Gloria Redwine Foundation — to help at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Miami, Florida, his hometown.
The foundation is named after his great-grandmother, who inspired Redwine to help inner-city youth with financial literacy education and skill building.
"I put it in her name just to help kids understand that there is another way outside of football," he said. "I was one of those kids growing up when the teacher asked me, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' I said 'football.' They said, 'Well, if football does not work, what do you want to be?' 'I don't know.' Now, I feel like I have learned other techniques outside of football, like investing. I want to take the knowledge that I know and put it towards this foundation and give it to other kids so they can grow."
Redwine said he was asked by Stefanski to be on the social justice committee after showing an influential and spirited voice in social justice discussions in the virtual offseason program. The Browns have held several meetings to discuss racial justice issues, and Redwine has been a leader in the conversations.
He wants others to feel his passion, too, and he believes that by speaking up in meetings and sharing his stories, he'll encourage others to do the same.
"If you live this," he said, "I feel like you have a voice that needs to be heard. I feel like everybody should be able to have a voice in these types of situations because we are the ones that are living it. I just want to bring knowledge to the situation. Whatever I can do to make a change, it just has to be done. I feel like it is more than just talking. It is time for action. The people who are in the position to make changes, we have to hold those people accountable to be able to make those changes."
Redwine has been a perfect example of what Stefanski has encouraged players to do all summer — use their platform, speak out and take action.
So when the Browns called for another discussion Thursday, Redwine was eager to participate. After experiencing the hardships of being a Black American himself, he's passionate to take a stand and demand a change.
"Over time, it just resonates with you," he said. "It's just something that I feel like change has to be done. I feel like I have a voice that I should use to try to bring change about."