Rapper and Philadelphia native Meek Mill donated 500 backpacks and a year’s worth of school supplies to 30 classrooms at James G. Blaine Elementary School in North Philadelphia.
The 32-year-old musician, whose legal name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, attended James G. Blaine as a child. Mill brought the supplies during a surprise visit to the school on Sept. 13. At James G. Blaine, 98.5 percent of the students receive free or discounted lunch.
In August 2018, Mill donated over 6,000 backpacks and a multitude of school supplies to 12 Philadelphia public schools. His back-to-school initiative is aimed at giving back to struggling families in his hometown, according to Billboard.
Mill's philanthropic efforts also expand beyond the classroom. In partnership with Puma, Roc Nation, and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, Mill funded the renovation of a basketball court in East Fairmount Park in August.
For most of his adult life, Mill was on probation following his arrest in 2007 in North Philadelphia for firearm and drug charges. In 2017, the rapper was sentenced to two-to-four years in state prison by trial judge Genece Brinkley for violating his probation.
Mill’s case began the #FreeMeek movement, which advocated for criminal and racial justice reform. The movement attracted the attention of other celebrities such as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft who visited Mill in prison and rapper Jay-Z wrote an op-ed in The New York Times advocating for Mill’s release from prison.
On Aug. 27, Mill’s 12-year battle with the legal system came to an end after he plead guilty to a misdemeanor firearm charge. All other charges against him were sequentially dropped and no penalties were imposed by the judge.
In March 2018, thousands of Penn students gathered in Irvine Auditorium to rally for Mill’s release and listen to a discussion surrounding mass incarceration and justice reform. Mill’s mother was present at the event, and the rapper himself even spoke to the audience on the phone.
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