A stone's throw from the Jacksonville Jaguars' stadium sits a small neighborhood with a huge history. Affectionately known to locals as 'Outeast,' Jacksonville's Eastside is one of the city's most prolific historically African-American neighborhoods. Despite the economic decline that began in the 1960s and continues today, Jacksonville's Outeast neighborhood was a thriving community that was home to legendary civil rights leader A. Phillip Randolph and Olympic gold-medalist and Super Bowl champion 'Bullet' Bob Hayes.
But Outeast residents remain positive. That's because hope, creativity, and perseverance also live there. By acknowledging both the darker moments in the area's past and celebrating its most impactful inhabitants, Outeast will continue not just to survive but prosper.
Boosted by community involvement through resources and funds from the Jacksonville Jaguars and owner Shad Khan, Jaguars defensive end Lerentee McCray will represent Outeast during the NFL's annual "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative when Jacksonville takes on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13. McCray will back Lift Jax, a neighborhood revitalization organization comprised of business and community leaders from throughout Jacksonville with an aim to eliminate generational poverty in the city.
It's a mission near and dear to the heart of McCray, who grew up as an underprivileged kid in nearby Ocala, Fla. He's given back to those from similar backgrounds throughout his seven-year NFL career, including stints with the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills.
"I am honored to represent Lift Jax, an organization committed to bringing change and working to eradicate poverty right here in Jacksonville. I want to encourage all of our fans to look out for our neighbors, particularly those in underprivileged communities."