It's been almost 10 years since Cyrus Mulitalo threw a football at Hornet Stadium, but there's one thing the former Sac State football player took from the field and has kept ever since: his friendship with former teammate Ryan Coogler.
"Ryan is like a brother to me," said Mulitalo. "Playing football, you have that bond with the guys in the locker room."
The two were also roommates. When Coogler went on from Sac State to USC's film school, Mulitalo never doubted his friend. He's been there every step of the way: from Coogler's wedding to his breakout film 'Fruitvale Station.'
"He had athletic ability that he could play at the next level if he wanted to. But he made his decision [based] on where his passion was and what he wanted to do," said Mulitalo. "He's just one hell of a guy."
So when a man in Harlem started a national #BlackPantherChallenge, urging communities to take their kids to see Coogler's new film 'Black Panther' it was a no-brainer for Mulitalo.
"What this movie is trying to portray to the world [is that] kids of color can be a superhero when they haven't had the opportunity," said Mulitalo. "This allows them to see themselves as one."
When the movie comes out, Mulitalo plans on taking 200 kids to the theater for a private screening. He's collaborating with non-profit Architects of Hope, the West Sacramento Junior Raiders, and the Grant Junior Pacers. Mulitalo said he wanted to include kids from different areas of the city.
With Coogler's connection to Sacramento, Mulitalo said he hopes the movie will have a second message.
"Ryan is a product of Sac State...so for the kids who are aspiring to be film directors [or] writers...whatever the case. Ryan did it," said Mulitalo. "So this is an opportunity for you to do it as wel, coming from where you're from."
To help out with the fundraiser, people can donate to the GoFundMe page.