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Washington — Free agent and former Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin will take part in a congressional forum for lawmakers to hear from National Football League players about how to improve relationships between minority communities and the police.

Boldin, 36, is expected to speak Thursday about his experience dealing with police as a young athlete growing up in Florida, and how his outlook changed after the death of his cousin in a police-involved incident.

Last fall, Boldin helped organize a Capitol Hill meeting for five NFL players to discuss police relations and race issues with congressional lawmakers.

In January, he told the Associated Press that he would welcome and appreciate a chance to sit down with President Donald Trump to discuss concerns for minorities.

“We are in a period where this country is divided. I think anybody that says otherwise is fooling themselves,” Boldin told the AP.

“At this point in order for anything to be changed, you have to sit down and talk with President Trump. At this point the Republicans, they're in control of the House, they're in control of the Congress, so in order for anything or any change you have to meet with the powers that be and you have to sit down and explain exactly where you're coming from but also you have to be willing to listen. I think that's one of the things that's hindering us as a country now, nobody listens to each other no more.”

Boldin hopes to use his pro career to help raise awareness of the need to build bridges between police and communities such as his hometown in southern Florida, Pahokee. He has also played for the Arizona Cardinals, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

The forum, set for 11 a.m. Thursday on Capitol Hill, will also feature Phillip Atiba Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity, and Malcolm Jenkins, a safety for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jenkins will discuss his recent trip to a prison in Pennsylvania, where he volunteered with inmates in a computer class and spoke to them about how they were preparing to transition into their lives outside prison.

The forum is organized by four House Democrats, including Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Detroit, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Boldin was last year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year, which the NFL awards to recognize a player’s charity and positive impact in his community.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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