It’s been two and a half years since Marvin Wilson sent the tweet that rocked Florida State and the rest of college football, and Ed Hill still sounds amazed at the aftermath. How one frustrated post turned into a movement — Marvin’s Movement — that has helped hundreds of children (and counting) in Tallahassee.
“I think it’s going to grow even more now that Marvin’s a Super Bowl champ,” Hill said. “I’m speaking that into existence.”
The second part depends on what happens in Super Bowl 57 Sunday and whether Wilson can earn a ring as a member of the Eagles’ practice squad. But the growth of Marvin’s Movement is undeniable. And incredible.
The chain reaction began in June 2020 during the nationwide racial unrest following George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. Seminoles coach Mike Norvell said he “went back and forth individually with every player” about it; Wilson said that was not true, so he and his “outraged” teammates were boycotting workouts because of the falsehood. Norvell apologized for exaggerating, and the tension fizzled out.
The story, however, did not. Wilson saw the power of his platform and wanted to keep going. He pushed FSU and others to do more to help more Black men and women go to college, to do more to help poor children in the area.
“It really ain’t fair,” Wilson said then in an Instagram video. “Going back and seeing different kids going through the same struggle I had to fight growing up … me being a man of color, I want to be that change.”
Hill has spent the last two and a half years watching and facilitating that change. He’s the CEO of GameTime Prep, which began as a 7-on-7 football league and grew to become an organization to help boys learn about money, healthcare and life. Marvin’s Movement is part of the push.
More than 100 children participated in the initiative’s second free football camp, held in July with guest appearances from some of Wilson’s FSU and NFL friends. A health provider, Simply Healthcare, partnered to teach the kids about nutrition and stretching.
But if a football camp is all Wilson wanted to do, Hill wouldn’t have gotten involved.
“If we’re going to do this, let’s make sure that we do something that’s going to live forever in Tallahassee,” Hill said. “And that’s what we’ve done.”
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They’ve tried to make meaningful change in two ways. One is financial literacy, a target Wilson decided to tackle early, once he started to learn how much he had never been taught.
Marvin’s Movement has held a handful of seminars — 60-90 minutes each, with a dozen or so kids from sixth through 12th grade — to teach the basics about credit scores, interest and savings accounts. The next step is to try to hold some at Boys & Girls Clubs.
“We’re just trying to encourage them to start off their life financially sound,” said Alexus Hall, the program’s teacher.
The other part of the movement is Marvin’s Magical Christmas. Ed Hill gushes about it.
In the event’s first year (2021), they were able to secure $200 holiday shopping sprees at Target for 20 kids in Tallahassee. Last year, the numbers swelled to 50 children and $250 apiece.
Marvin’s Movement works with counselors at elementary and middle schools to identify kids who need what Ed Hill calls a “give-back.” One recently had a kidney transplant. Another lost a mother to cancer. A handful had been homeless. Wilson and his initiative gave them a day to buy anything they wanted — toys, gummy bears, pajamas, whatever.
“Watching these kids come up and hug Marvin and thank him, it’s absolutely amazing,” Hill said. “They’re starstruck.”
Wilson stuck around for so many hugs and photographs that Hill had to shoo him off to the airport so he wouldn’t miss his next NFL meeting.
Wilson almost certainly won’t play Sunday and has only appeared in two games over the past two seasons. That doesn’t matter. The Hills are pulling for him and the Eagles. The dozens of children he has helped in Tallahassee probably are, too.
That’s because Wilson has become part of the change he wanted to see. In a social media video he posted two and a half years ago, he promised to come back to Tallahassee as a college-educated NFL player with a message of empowerment.
“I’ll be able to tell them kids that you can be whatever you want in this world if you put your mind to it and you work hard, because you come from royalty,” he said then. “You are Black, and you should be proud of that. You stand for something, and you mean something. You have a story to tell, and that story needs to be heard, no matter what.”
The story is already strong enough. It will be even more powerful next time if he can deliver that message as a Super Bowl champion.
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