Home News Afro Briefs Originally published September 19, 2013

NBA Hall of Famer Johnson Creates “Magic” in Chicago

by Courtney Jacobs
AFRO Staff Writer

    Earvin "Magic" Johnson talks about his story and the importance of access to quality care for those living with HIV/AIDS during a press conference before the launch of Simply Healthcare's HIV/AIDS Medicaid Specialty Plan held at University Area Community Development Corporation on 22nd Street in Tampa on Tuesday Sept. 17, 2013. Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of people living with HIV/AIDS. The University Area has the highest HIV/STD rate in Hillsborough County, and one of the highest in the state. Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Will Vragovic (AP Photo)
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NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson launched a new Chicago-based initiative, “Friends of Magic,” on Sept. 18, aimed at helping at-risk students, including students who have dropped out of school, graduate from high school.

“God is so good,” Johnson said during a press conference to announce the organization. “All you want to do is help these incredible young people achieve their goals in life. I’ve been so blessed in my life. I’m just trying to give back to the same community I came from. This is what it’s all about.”

Johnson, along with Grammy-winning artist and actor Common and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, hosted the event at Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy, an education facility founded by Johnson. Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy contracts with Chicago Public Schools to help dropouts.

“When you take time to give back, it’s really saying something,” Common told Jet Magazine. “We know in Chicago, we have to give back. We all want to stop this violence.”

According to Johnson’s organization, there is a 21-percent non-graduation rate nationwide, yet 74 percent of dropouts said they’d stay in school if given the chance. The goal of Johnson’s organization is to give these students a second chance and help them succeed by providing “educational resources, internships and real-world experience.”

Johnson has Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy locations in Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina and Ohio.

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