On File

Hue Jackson: Cleveland Browns Coach

The Hue Jackson Foundation, founded by Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson and his wife Michelle, has partnered with The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland to fight human trafficking. In January, the “Blue Spotlight Challenge” helped raise money for the Hue Jackson Survivors of Human Trafficking Residence, which is scheduled to open later this year at the Cleveland Harbor Light facility. The residence will increase the number of women who can be helped from 6 to 18.

Tell us about the “Blue Spotlight Challenge.” It was a challenge to all corporate employees in the city to wear blue and to donate $4 to the foundation to fight human trafficking. I think it was a sensational hit. Many corporate persons within Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio wore blue to shed light on human trafficking. We wanted to signify that we are standing behind this issue and that we’re making a difference.

What gives you and your wife such passion for this issue? My wife and I thought about what would make an impact, not just for us and our legacy, but also for our children. We’re the parents of three daughters. We’ve witnessed some of this [human trafficking] firsthand. We thought this was the best place to put our resources and to create a platform.

How did you get involved with The Salvation Army? We partnered with the Army because we have a residence that’s going to go up [at the Harbor Light]. Obviously, the Army is doing so many great things and they were gracious enough to partner with the Hue Jackson Foundation to create a safe place for victims. We want them to get back on their feet physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The residence will also house law enforcement officers and people who will be there to assist victims 24/7. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to do something special.

What do you like about The Salvation Army as an organization? They’ve stood for excellence. The Salvation Army is a place you can turn to. They’ve always made a difference in communities. They’ve been outstanding. What greater partnership to form than with The Salvation Army?

Is human trafficking the primary focus of your foundation? Yes, it’s our focus. We’re “all in” on this problem. We don’t have another issue that we’re involved in or really want to be involved in. This is a big enough challenge all by itself. It’s taken much of our time and resources as we continue to make a huge impact in this area.

Tell our readers about your spiritual life. I’m a Christian. I normally attend the Church of Christ. Although I have not yet found a particular church here where I feel comfortable, I am definitely a Christian man. God is the leader of my life. I am no different than most Christians. I must continue to practice and get better at it, each and every day. I try to do things that are good and I give back. I’ve received this [coaching] opportunity and am grateful and thankful to have it. This platform makes it possible for me to give back to people who need assistance.

How long have you been a Christian? I’ve been a Christian all my life. My mother introduced me to the Church of Christ, and I was baptized when I was nine years old. Just like many young men when they’re baptized that early, I was not exactly sure what it meant, but I did it. Obviously, I’ve lived by faith and by the grace of God. I’m no different than anybody else. I make mistakes, but I know there is a higher Being who I can repent to, as I continue to get better. I know I’m still “a work in progress” as I move through this life, trying to understand how to be better—a better husband, father, and football coach.

The Browns have the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Are you optimistic about the future? Yes, absolutely. It’s not so much about the first pick, it’s about turning the corner. We’ve been a football team that, during the past two years, we’ve been 1-31. But we’re still standing. We’re still fighting. That says a lot about the character of the men and the coaches in the locker room. We have to continue to work on things and get better. I think we’re headed in the right direction. We’re really appreciative of [owners] Jimmy and Dee Haslam and their leadership. Now, it’s a matter of going out there and getting the job done.

interview by Robert Mitchell