DENVER — It was 8:30 on a Saturday morning where the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club was quiet with a few volunteers milling about.
It was still 90 minutes from the start of the March of Peace when out from a side door came Justin Simmons, the Broncos' star safety, who was carrying out a case of water bottles, along with other refreshments, to be used for the march participants.
"I got to pull some type of weight here,'' Simmons said.
The 3rd annual March for Peace was part of the Darrent Williams Boys & Girls Club of Montbello program to help educate youth and the sports community on racial discrimination, while championing social justice and improved race relations.
The event was organized by teenagers Nashara Ellerbee and Naja’Ray (Ray Ray) West with Simmons' mentorship. There were approximately 400 participants for the march here on a hazy Saturday morning. The event was shortened from the scheduled 5K (3.1 miles) to about 1 1/4 miles because of the smoke that had carried in from the Canadian wildfires.
Team president Damani Leech was among the 40 Broncos-connected family, as were players Simmons, cornerback Essang Bassey and new running back Samaje Perine -- who was joined by wife Meg and their three young children -- and defensive backs coach Christian Parker, who is leaving Sunday for the three-day NFL Coach Accelerator Program in Minneapolis
The timing of the March for Peace was fitting as it came the day after the NFL mourned the passing of Jim Brown, the running back legend and social advocate for Black rights, at the age of 87.
"It's obviously tough with Jim Brown and what he's meant to the Black community,'' Simmons said. "All the things that he's done, just in general. An event like this, March for Peace, fits in perfectly. Ray Ray and Nashara, I think he'd be so proud of them. We've seen how this has progressed where so many people come out and I really feel like it's making a difference in the community in Montbello.
"It's unfortunate I never had a chance of officially meeting (Brown) to shake his hand because I know how much he means to so many people. I still think he'd be proud of Nashara and Ray Ray for what they're doing."
>VIDEO BELOW: Justin Simmons reflects on life of Jim Brown
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