TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Their call to action brought a tremendous amount of positivity to the city of Tampa. Now, the city is calling them.
The McCloud brothers, Ray-Ray and Jordan, and a handful of their friends, including Cadi Molina, visited Tampa Mayor Jane Castor on Thursday morning. She asked to meet with the group because she wanted to thank them for organizing a cleanup effort at Champs Sports store on Sunday evening.
The store, which is located on Fowler Avenue, had been set on fire amidst the protests in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“She just wanted to sit down and tell us how thankful she was,” said Jordan McCloud, a quarterback at the University of South Florida. “She cares so much and she was telling us how she went to UT and she was a cop for 31 years and she was so passionate about everything she was saying. She even had a little crying moment, I do not want to put her business out there like that, but she loves the city very much.”
McCloud said the two sides joined together in that meeting, exchanging thoughts and ideas in an effort to implement positive changes within the community.
“She took everything that we were saying seriously,” McCloud said. “One of my friends, people know him as Big Chris, he brought up an idea to try to create a program where we have inner-city kids starting to become cops in their own community because I believe that that is important because people in this community understand this community.”
He proposed an idea too, an idea he borrowed from his former head football coach, Charlie Strong.
“Coach Strong, last year, took us to this police academy where we, it was like a simulation, to where we did cop activities to see how you react to certain things and stuff like that so maybe getting the kids in the community to be able to do that as well,” McCloud said.
Mayor Jane Castor shared this message in a tweet.
“As we move toward positive change, I’m committed to listening & hearing all @cityoftampa residents. Thank you to these young leaders for sharing their insightful thoughts, concerns & ideas regarding how we will convert today’s racial tensions into solutions for a better tomorrow. These young people saw the adverse impacts left behind from the unpeaceful protests & immediately activated. They gathered to help Champs and the surrounding area clean up after Saturday’s destruction in our community. Great work!”
She retweeted a tweet from McCloud with the words, “Thank you for all you and your friends are doing to lift this community up during this very trying time – we are listening and we will heal together.”
The 90-minute discussion provided McCloud with hope for the future and, with the support of the mayor, he feels he can help to unify this community.
“I know there is only a small group of us right now,” he said. “But we hope to get, you know, like I said, God forbid anything like this ever happens again, you know, the whole community out there is helping out, to get more people to understand what we are trying to do. We are just trying to get everybody to love each other and come as one and make a big, united group.”
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