BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Nas Jackson has always been a fighter. The current Buffalo State football player was diagnosed with systemic lupus a few years ago. He's grateful to be here and lives to inspire others, but these have been trying times.
"It's been very difficult trying to understand why," Jackson said. "And if it's hard for me to understand, I can't imagine how difficult it is for someone else to understand."
It's why Jackson is creating a nonprofit aimed at helping others navigate everything that's going on. He brought the idea to his friend Justin Piazza, founder of Better Tomorrow Buffalo, an organization that strives to create change.
"When I heard it, I was inspired," Piazza said. "This is the change that we need and it starts with people like Nas."
The goal is to educate and talk about things like constitutional rights. Jackson has had discussions with local law enforcement to further understand how to handle situations and how to form better relationships.
"These are the people who go out and risk their lives everyday but they also have to understand us as a community," Jackson said. "They have to hear us."
Necessary conversations and lessons he also plans to bring to the classroom.
Nancy Langer is President of NativityMiguel Middle School in Buffalo. Her kids respect and look up to Jackson, so she believes having talks like this will have a huge impact.
"To have a person like Nas to teach middle school kids how to face adversity, I could not think of a better person," she said.
They're leaders in the community, wanting others to realize change should happen now. Living life with a purpose and trying to make a difference.
"We can inspire the younger generations and we can even inspire the older generations," Justin said.
"As much as we want it to change, history keeps going in this cycle," Jackson added. "So change the mindset. You don't have to be afraid, you don't have to be scared. We just gotta find a way to make it happen and it starts with us."