Super Bowl XLVII winning Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, now with the San Francisco 49ers, is spending part of the off-season pressing politicians about human rights abuses in Africa, a message he shared with both sides of the Capitol during a lobbying blitz Monday.
Boldin, who toured remote parts of Senegal earlier this spring and visited Ethiopia in 2012, came to Capitol Hill with Oxfam America in anticipation of President Barack Obama’s good-will mission to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania this week.
“You have these people who literally live on top of gold mines … and they see no benefits from it,” Boldin said about the destitute African farmers he came in contact with who’ve been displaced by natural-resource-reaping multinationals.
Boldin spent the day sharing what he had experienced with the administration, a senior aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Chairman Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., House Appropriations Committee staff, and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
Ian Gary, Oxfam’s policy guru on extractive industries, said his group is hoping to stem future abuses by requiring greater disclosure by Securities and Exchange Commission-registered companies about payments made to developing nations.
They’re also working with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who has already begun circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter — a Bass aide confirmed that nine members have already signed on — calling for the adoption of a uniform regional mining code.
Meanwhile, Boldin insists he’s far from done exposing problems in Africa — and he hopes others will join his crusade. “For us, it’ll be an annual trip,” he said, touting Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith and running back Ray Rice as likely candidates for a return trip.