Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was one of the last NBA players to decide on whether or not he would be joining his team in the Walt Disney World bubble.
When announcing that he would be with the Lakers in Orlando, Howard also added that is donating his salary to the “Breathe Again” initiative he started with the goal of educating African-American youth in Atlanta.
The noble act by Howard is his way of being able to play basketball with his team while also remaining focused on the greater issues. He has been a vocal player in the NBA when it comes to racial injustice and how the NBA restart potentially was going negatively impact those discussions.
“Breathe Again” goes beyond just ensuring a quality education for Atlanta youth, according to Howard. His main focuses are to teach things like financial literacy, agriculture, and important skills and knowledge.
“We’re working on a program for the inner-city kids of Atlanta to teach them financial literacy; not just the kids but also their parents,” Howard recently explained. “Those are some of the classes we’re going to be funding, to teach these kids but also their parents about financial literacy.
“That is something that has been missing in the Black community. We want to make sure we push that to the forefront. I also have a 100-acre farm, so we’re going to teach these kids about agriculture. How to use different utensils on a farm, how to plant and cultivate seeds and stuff like that.
“We also are going to be teaching the laws, rights and history of Black people. We have guys from each specific field as far as financial literacy, agriculture, law, rights and history, that we’re going to be using to teach kids. I think that’s a start.”
Howard also spoke about the impetus for this idea and why he believes financial literacy is so vital.
“One of the reasons why we came up with this idea is because there’s been a lot of kids in Atlanta and probably throughout different cities in America, these Black kids are in the streets selling water and Gatorade, trying to make some money so they can live,” he said.
“But they don’t know how to treat that money, they don’t know how to save that money or know what to do with it. We want to give these guys an outlet and teach them how to save money, so when they get older they can have something to pass to their kids.
“One of the kids that was out selling water a couple weeks ago, he got shot by another one of the kids that was trying to sell water. I want to take it upon myself and the rest of the guys in our community want to guide these kids in the right direction.”
While this isn’t the standard curriculum for educational programs, there’s no doubting its importance. In the world we live in today, knowing how to make and save money is essential, and teaching that alongside important life skills and knowledge about rights could be a life changer.
Howard wants to remain focused on social justice
Throughout the entire bubble process, Howard has remained consistent on the fact that his main goal is to push for change in the United States, and doesn’t want to be a part of a distraction.
This came up after Howard was reported for not wearing a mask in a required area of the bubble. “I can’t complain, got to stay locked in on what the mission is. Besides the mission of basketball, I still want to continue to keep up awareness of what’s going on outside of the bubble,” he added.
“Breonna Taylor, the people who did the heinous incident against her, they’re still free and out there living their best life. I think instead of worrying about if I have my mask on or not, I think that’s something we should be discussing.”
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