Brooklyn Nets guard Wayne Ellington won the PBWA’s 2015-16 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his work in the community, particularly regarding Ellington’s commitment to fighting gun violence.
From the release:
After his father, Wayne Ellington Sr., was shot to death on Nov. 9, 2014, in Philadelphia, Ellington, a native of Wynnewood, Pa., decided to channel his grief into action by becoming an advocate for gun-violence prevention.
On Sept. 21, 2015, Ellington was the featured speaker at Peace Day Philly’s “March for Peace” before a crowd of mostly schoolchildren, many of whom lost a loved one to gun violence. His speech was a primary attraction at the fifth annual Peace Day Philly, which was the culmination of a weeklong series of peace-oriented events. Also in September, Ellington joined Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and other current and former NBA players to help run the fourth annual Chicago Peace League Basketball Tournament, which aims to reduce gang violence in the city.
Ellington has continued his outreach efforts by creating the “Power of W.E.” campaign. In addition to filming a PSA for one of the only hospital-based violence-prevention programs of its kind in the country (in conjunction with Temple University), Ellington plans to host the Philadelphia Peace Games in August. For that event, rival gang members in Philadelphia will come together for a basketball game played on a court built and customized with Power of W.E. messaging for community use.
Ellington is the first Nets player to win the honor since the PBWA began awarding it in 1975. He tweeted his gratitude and commitment to fighting for victims of gun violence.
— Wayne Ellington (@WayneElli22) April 28, 2016
The man who murdered Ellington’s father pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison this past February, a verdict Ellington said brought him and his family closure. Ellington also reminisced about the impact his father, who he affectionately refers to as “Pops,” had on his life in a piece for The Player’s Tribune.
Ellington has a player option for next season, which he has until June 29th to exercise.