PHILADELPHIA - Security will be tight at the Super Bowl, but nothing compared to what Kempis Songster is used to.
Songster was released from a maximum-security prison less than a month ago, but in two weeks, he’s heading to Minneapolis for the big game, courtesy of Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Jenkins, an outspoken social activist and a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for volunteer and charity work, met Songster last year during a visit to Graterford Prison as he educated himself to better understand the criminal justice system and mass incarceration.
As a Payton Award finalist for his work leading the Players’ Coalition that influenced an almost $100 million pledge by the NFL to assist community groups and social justice organizations, Jenkins receives two tickets to the Super Bowl.
He’s playing in the Feb. 4 game, so he doesn’t need the seats for himself, so he decided to do something notable with them.
Malcolm Jenkins through his career
Malcolm Jenkins through his career
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 25: Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) celebrates after the Eagles recovered a fumble in the second half during the game between the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles on December 25, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, 0H - SEPTEMBER 16: Malcolm Jenkins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes gets ready to move at the snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats on September 16, 2006 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - OCTOBER 27: Wide receiver Ray Small #4, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins #2, and wide receiver Brian Hartline #9 of the Ohio State Buckeyes sing their alma mater after the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2007 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Ohio State won 37-17. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - 2009: Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by NFL Photos)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a play during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 2: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints warms up before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-13. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03: NFL player Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints attends Super Bowl Gospel Celebration 2012 at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Super Bowl)
26 July 2014: Malcolm Jenkins (27) Eagles Defensive Back takes to the field during the Philadelphia Eagles training camp at NovaCare Training Complex in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles encourages the crowd to get loud against the Buffalo Bills on December 13, 2015 at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles exits the field after the game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05: NFL player Malcolm Jenkins (R) and Morrisa Jenkins attend the Sports Illustrated Experience Friday Night Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 09: Ron Brooks #33 of the Philadelphia Eagles and Malcolm Jenkins #27 raise their fists during the National Anthem prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles holds up his fist during the national anthem prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 28: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles smiles while warming up before taking on the Green Bay Packers at Lincoln Financial Field on November 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 02: Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins visits the SiriusXM set at Super Bowl 51 Radio Row at the George R. Brown Convention Center on February 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on November 19, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Corey Graham #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles is congratulated by his teammate Malcolm Jenkins #27 after getting an interception during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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“A few weeks ago, I saw an article come across my text that he was getting out, and I wanted to do something special for him,” Jenkins told the Daily News. “I didn’t know what, but I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate him coming home because I understood he really dedicated himself to a life of service and he’s trying to repay what he’s taken from society. I know he has some great ideas and we’re trying to accomplish the same thing when we talk about reform and healing our communities.”
Jenkins has been heavily involved in social issues the last two years. He and teammates like Chris Long have attended bail hearings to see how the criminal justice system works (or doesn’t) and have met with lawmakers to discuss reforms and new legislation.
“In October, we played in a Monday night game that finished around 1 a.m. and 7 a.m., Malcolm is rallying us to go get on a train and go to Harrisburg to meet with legislators, where we got to see a lot of the folks who are pushing these bills across the floor,” Long said this week. “There’s a lot of work to do in Pennsylvania.”
Songster, 45, was locked up for 30 years for a murder he committed when he was a teenager. He and another runaway, Dameon Brome, both originally from Brooklyn, received mandatory life sentences in 1988 for killing 17-year-old Anjo Pryce in a Philadelphia crack house.
His lengthy sentence was cut short following the Supreme Court ruling two years ago that found automatic life sentences for juveniles to be unconstitutional. Songster was released Dec. 28 and met Jenkins again the following day.
“Once I got the opportunity to get those tickets through the Man of the Year, he was the first person that popped in my mind,” Jenkins said. “I know normally, people give those to kids or people who may be sick or who are well deserving, but I wanted to have an example that sometimes we can think outside the box and we can listen and hear from one another, so what better platform than the Super Bowl to show those examples?
“Because he’s someone I’m going to lean on for insight of what’s going on, who has been through the process, knows what’s going on, how people are being affected,” he said. “Those are the voices I want to amplify when we talk about trying to change it. You have to be able to engage and Kempis is a great example of that.”