Chris Paul, NBA Player, Olympic Gold Medalist, philanthropist
Please share how a civil rights figure influenced you personally.
There are many great civil rights figures that I am familiar with and learned about in school. However, I think what has had a personal impact on me is the way my parents and grandparents shared the stories of those men and women with my brother and me.
They weren't just names/faces in a book or in a movie. It was the way my parents talked to my brother and me about the importance of who Dr. Martin Luther King was, and the manner in which we listened to and learned about the "I Have a Dream" speech, that allowed us both to know that we could not only dream but dream big.
Anyone who knows me knows how important my family is to me. One of the initiatives of my foundation is education. As a parent myself, I look back on the lessons I learned about the struggle of African Americans in this country, and I know that struggle became personal to me because of the way it was taught to me other than what was in the history books. I challenge parents today to rise to the challenge of teaching their children the importance of the Civil Rights Act and how it affects their lives today.
My parents reinforced the importance of education to us. That is why one of the first things I did when I joined the NBA was to create an endowment in my late grandfather's name for two scholarships to Wake Forest University. I hope to be able to share stories about the civil rights leaders, together with what it was like to have the country elect the first African American president, with my children. I know my parents will be there to share their wisdom as well.
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