Social Justice Game Changer: Justin Kinsey

by Josh Cohen

Name: Justin Kinsey

Game Honored: Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Hornets (1/25/2021)

Background: A graduate of Morehouse College, the same school Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended, Kinsey has a genuine heart to serve others and fight against injustice. Through his compassion and munificence, along with his abilities to effectively connect and communicate with others, he has made a huge impact in the Central Florida community and beyond.

His community work includes collaborating with Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill to change blanket hiring policies to give felons a path to employment, creating a male student athlete program called B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S at the University of Central Florida through Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and serving on the City of Orlando Mayor’s MLK Commission.

Helping others reach their full potential makes Kinsey, a husband and father of three children, smile and realize all the good that comes from giving back to the community.

“One thing I realize is that nobody is self-made and everyone needs a helping hand at some point in time,” he said. “The richest man in the world didn’t become the richest man in the world by himself. He had help. So, when I look at people who don’t have access to certain resources and grow up in adverse environments and living conditions, I think about how much more those people need help. I feel it’s my duty as a citizen of humanity to reach back and help wherever I can and do what I’m able to do to help someone else move forward and hopefully that spurs in them to do the same thing that I did, reach as you climb. Don’t just climb to the mountain top and leave everybody behind.”

Recent Project: Sports help people come together. Kinsey knowing that made him want to organize an event that unified people through a sports theme.

So, in October after dreaming about it for a while, he arranged a movie night billed “Better Together” at Camping World Stadium, where community, civic and faith leaders joined in with their neighbors to watch Remember the Titans, a film based on real events that shows how courage, strength and unification can break division.

“I had this dream and long thought about what message could we send to the world and to our community even that we are better together,” he said. “I thought about how sport is a unifier. I’ve sat at football games and basketball games with people who wouldn’t talk to me, they don’t like me because of skin color or just preconceived notions. And for three hours while this game is going on, we can talk, high five, and cheer on these colors or something we believe in based on that commonality. Then after it’s over, it’s like we never interacted before. So, I figured how can we spur the conversation to not pre-judge and really come together and see people beyond skin deep and the idea was to throw a movie night.”

The Orlando Community Pledge offers an opportunity for every individual and organization to stand with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, his MLK Commission and the city to denounce racism and discrimination. Standing (virtually) shoulder to shoulder united in our core beliefs is a powerful statement, an even more powerful effort will be answering the call to action. Sign the pledge here.

What’s Next: Making sure people have the resources they need to flourish in life is something Kinsey, a Region Vice President at REEF overseeing the Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa markets, has his eyes on.

One particular ambition he has is opening up more avenues for people to get access to better education, health and technology. Working with internet service providers, for example, would be something he’d love to do, as it could help more people utilize today’s technological advancements that would enable them to develop more skills using online resources.

He also wants to contribute to programs that enhance academic opportunities for children.

“The classroom to the principal, so having programs in place where we are impacting kids as young as pre-K, kindergarten and you are walking them through to twelfth grade and they are able to graduate high school or even in high school they are able to do things to work towards an AA (Associate of Arts degree) and then transition to a university or even expose them to certificate programs,” he said.

Working with the Magic: Being honored by the Magic motivates Kinsey to continue following his heart and pursuing his passions. He’s extremely appreciative to be recognized by the Magic and is happy to know they are doing a great deal to help the Central Florida community grow and prosper.

“It’s really special and very impactful when you see coaches, players or people just of huge notoriety out in these communities giving back and helping and serving,” he said. “I think it has the potential to spur change and give hope to people that have been written off or it seems hopeless for them. It blesses me that the Magic are huge, huge leaders in this community and they take philanthropy and social justice seriously.”

About the Program: As part of the Magic and Clifford’s continuing efforts toward social justice reform, he created the Social Justice Game Changer program to honor one local leader who has made a difference in the realm of social justice issues. A cause close to his heart, Clifford is extremely active in programs that support equality and justice for all people in the Central Florida community.

Through this program, Clifford looks to put the spotlight on those continuously doing the hard work, day in and day out, fighting for sustainable change. As part of his program, one person is selected and honored each game. The honorees are given tickets, provided by Clifford, to the game and featured in-arena on the Magic Vision screen at center court.

“The purpose is to honor and to celebrate so many of the people in the Orlando community who are fighting for change and who commit their lives to making Orlando a better place,” Clifford said. “It’s just a way to celebrate them, what they stand for, and what they do for our community.”

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