NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, three-fourths of the infamous banana boat crew, have joined forces to launch the Social Change Fund, which will provide resources and support to organizations focused on empowering the Black community.
“Our mission is to address social and economic justice issues facing Black communities and break down the discriminatory barriers to success,” Paul said in a statement sent to The Root. “The Social Change Fund will help advance racial equality and opportunity. We will unite with other individuals who share our vision and commitment to use our collective voices and resources to advocate for change and foster a more equitable future.”
For years, Paul, Anthony and Wade have been at the forefront of pushing for social change. In 2016, the trio, in addition to LeBron James, delivered a powerful speech at the 2016 ESPYS that challenged their peers to use their platforms to address police brutality, racism and injustice in America.
“Let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence,” LeBron said at the time. “And most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.”
Specific issues that the Social Change Fund seeks to address include criminal justice reform, expanding access to voting and civic engagement, bolstering economic equity within the Black community and increasing Black representation in leadership positions.
“When all else fails to organize us, conditions will,” Anthony said. “We established the Social Change Fund to invest in and support organizations working to champion criminal justice reform, enact policy solutions, and advocate for the human rights of all Black lives now and for generations to come. I stand for everything this Fund and its beneficiaries support and will not stop pushing for progress until we see an end to the systemic racism that the Black community has faced for too long. We will keep on pushing. We will not lose focus.”
Joining Paul, Anthony and Wade in this journey are entities such as Beyond Meat, Goldman Sachs, Laureus Sport for Good USA, Reform Alliance, and Creative Artists Agency’s Managing Partners and Agency Board, who will provide seed funding and unspecified support. And for those interested in joining the Social Change Fund’s mission to dismantle systemic racism and foster an environment of equitable treatment, Paul, Anthony and Wade welcome changemakers and corporate sponsors to join their fight.
“The magnitude of racial inequality is staggering with Black lives socially, politically and economically marginalized,” Wade said. “We are committed to supporting organizations that directly represent and benefit the Black community with the Social Change Fund. Our goal is to create a pathway for inclusion and success by deploying the necessary funds and resources to invest in long-term change.”
To learn more about the Social Change Fund, visit their website here.