Chris Singleton Leaves Cape Henry Community Changed and Inspired


Chris Singleton, Cape Henry’s most recent distinguished speaker, made a very large impact on the community. His message about spreading love rather than hate and forgiveness affected many of the students and faculty at Cape Henry. His mother was a victim in the Charleston shooting, and anyone in the audience could tell his message really comes from the heart.

Zach Earl (‘21) said, “I thought Chris was the best speaker our school has had yet. He stood strong and succeeded in life after everything was trying to push him down.” Being only 23 years old and pursuing motivational speaking as a career to help spread love is quite a remarkable feat, and it really shows how much every speech means to him and how much the students in the audience mean to him. One of Chris’s overall messages is centered around his favorite quote that he shared with the community: 10 percent of our lives is action. 90 percent is reaction. He continued to reference this quote throughout the remainder of his speech, articulating beautifully how it relates to the trauma he went through and his decision to forgive the shooter who murdered his mother.

Haley Hernandez (‘23) was asked how she felt about Chris’s overall message and she responded that “he was super inspiring and motivational. When he first told me that he forgave the person who murdered his mother, I was in shock and looked up to him. I wanted to know how I could be like him. He is a stellar speaker and has such an important life lesson to teach, and I want to try and help carry that message as well.” Chris not only talked about his central message of spreading love rather than hate, and the story of his mother, but he also talked about the misconceptions around mental health. As a sufferer of PTSD from the shock of the news of the shooting, he understands how mental illness can be brushed off as “weak” or “unimportant.” But he continued to say how mental illness doesn’t make you weak; seeking help and accepting you do need help makes you courageous.

Berk Alptekin (‘21) mentions how “we need more people in the world like him if we are to achieve world peace and accept everyone we come across, no matter who they are or where they come from.” Chris’s message truly made an impact on not only the African American students but everyone attending and working at Cape Henry. Chris mentioned in his speech that people will tell him he can’t stop racism. And his simple response is: “I’ll be damned if I don’t try.”