Changing the World One Person at a Time

On 9/11 Cape Henry Collegiate had a designated speaker Chris Singleton. Back in 2015 his mother was shot and killed in the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. After the shooting, Chris had to take care of his younger brother and sister while also having a baseball career. He got married at the age of 21 and is now speaking in front of millions of people about his life story on how his mother died and also how he is coping. For the first year since his mother’s death, Chris suffered from depression and was devastated by what happened. Today he says he would forgive the person who shot his mother. 

After Chris’s speech, he became well-liked in the Cape Henry community. Sarah Blais (’20) described him as “authentic, honest, and encouraging.”  Nadia Norman (’20) defined him as strong. She said that he stood strong with every situation he was faced.”  Many people believe he is strong to stand up against racism even if it is just one person at a time. Chris believed that even changing one person’s opinion on how people treat others who are different was a win for him. Little did he know he would be impacting millions of people’s lives with his powerful words. He was able to grab people’s attention and how they should view life. 

In Chris’s speech what really stood out to people most was his ability to forgive the shooter and use this story to advocate about racism. His willingness to forgive has taught people that we as a community should forgive each other no matter what. Brynn Earl (’21) says that she agreed with Chris Singleton’s message that “we may not be able to control what happens in life but we are able to control our reactions.” This is very important because the way people react can make a difference even if people don’t know it yet. 

The reasons why Cape Henry brings in distinguished speakers are to encourage students to do what may seem to be the impossible and to help us realize ideas from a different perspective. It is also to help educate and inspire students. Sarah Blais (’20) shared, “Each person that came to Cape Henry has had an important story or message to convey to our generation in hopes to better prepare us for our future that will carry with it more inclusivity and less hate.”  Cape Henry has been able to do a great job to bring in people with inspirational stories that can help students see life from a different perspective.

Brynn Earl suggested, “In the future, Cape Henry should continue to bring new perspectives and interesting stories to bring us out of our small bubbles in our CHC community.” Nadia Norman believes “It is important to bring in more speakers like Chris who preach diversity, forgiveness, and love.”Having speakers like Chris helps open the eyes for opportunities in life that students may not be able to think of by themselves. Chris Singleton was a great example to show how one person can help change the world.