“I just wanted to come here today and hopefully for a moment, for a second, bring a little bit of this,” he said, as students cheered. “Bring a little excitement, bring a little joy. What you guys have been going through and how resilient you have been has been amazing from afar.
“I just wanted to come and say I’m inspired by you. As someone out here in the public eye, I’m proud to say I’m from this state, because of you guys, because of the future of this world, because of you guys.”
Wade has become an increasingly vocal figure in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day shooting after one of the students killed, Joaquin Oliver, was buried in Wade’s No. 3 jersey.
“You hurt for the family,” Wade told reporters when he found out. “It’s emotional even thinking about that, that his parents felt that burying him in my jersey is something that he wanted. I take a lot of pride in what I’ve done in this state and what I’ve meant for the youth, so I appreciate that.”
But Wade has long rejected the “shut up and dribble” mold for professional athletes. After Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, was shot and killed in 2012, Wade led Miami Heat teammates, including LeBron James and Chris Bosh, to pose standing in black hoodies, the type of shirt Martin was wearing when he was killed.
During his one season in Chicago, Wade spoke out about gang-related gun violence. He threw support behind embattled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he went unsigned through the 2017 football season.
“We’re people. We’re people who have a tremendous talent God’s given us but we still live in our communities, we still deal with tragedy, we still deal with depression, the stress,” Wade told the Palm Beach Post about his activism. “We still deal with everything that everyone deals with. … We’re no different than other individuals. … So, yeah, our voice needs to be heard for the parents, for the individuals in the school to bring and share light or attention on what needs to be done and how we can help get it done.”
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