On Wednesday, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul announced that he is partnering with Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony and former NBA player Dwayne Wade to form the Social Change Fund.
The three have come together to invest and support organizations that are focused on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of Black lives, Good Morning America reports.
“There’s a lot of things that each one of us have done as individuals, but we see this as an opportunity not only for us to come together and make a bigger impact, [but] just continue to try to make real, sustainable change,” Paul told GMA.
Paul shared on Twitter that the goal of the fund is to “address socio-economic injustice issues facing Black and Brown communities by making meaningful change.”
Anthony, Paul, and Wade have long been vocal against racial inequality and social injustice. In recent months, they have been joined by other prominent athletes across all sports, especially after the death of George Floyd on May 25.
In their exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Paul, Anthony, and Wade spoke on what inspired them to start the Social Change Fund, which will help end police brutality, push criminal justice reform and inclusion, and strengthen communities of color by expanding access to voting, increasing Black representation in government and building economic equity for Black people through education and employment.
“If you don’t have a good roof over your head, if you’re not being educated from home, along with [being] educated in the school, [Black people are] going to always be starting from behind and playing catch up. These are certain aspects that we want to attend ASAP,” said Anthony.
“The Social Impact Fund is necessary and timely,” said Topeka K. Sam, founder and executive director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries and who is a leading voice in criminal justice reform and will serve as an adviser to the fund. “We have joined this incredible initiative to ensure true equity by guiding resources to community-based organizations that are led by directly impacted people of color.”
“Whether it be health and education, talking about the different types of foods that go into the inner cities … all this goes back to systemic racism,” Paul said.
“There’s people out there that are a lot smarter than us in some of these situations, so we’re going to try to do the work and educate ourselves, but also put our money where our mouth is and keep going,” Paul added.
According to the Bleacher Report, the three are longtime friends who played together during the 2008 Olympics for Team USA. They share a history of advocating for social change and notably, stood together alongside Los Angeles star LeBron James and delivered a powerful message during the 2016 ESPYS.
After the recent string of shooting deaths, Wade used his platform to address the issues.
“The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of Black and Brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough.”
Considering that America is still plagued by issues it faced four years ago, Paul, Anthony, and Wade will use their resources to create much-needed change.
The 2019-20 season will resume in Orlando, Florida’s “bubble” on July 30. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” will be painted on the courts, and players will be allowed to wear pre-approved social justice statements on their jerseys for the first time in NBA history.
“I think right now, with everything that has happened since George Floyd, the last two months, we have even more responsibility,” said Wade, who retired in 2019. “[We will not] get worn down at all, we continue to push this to continue to add pressure to the change we want to see.”