Aminu Joins Youth on Educational Experience and Tour of Historic Parramore Community

Magic celebrate Black History Month with a variety of activities
by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – One of Al-Farouq Aminu’s big interests aside from basketball is history, and specifically African American history. The Orlando Magic forward enjoys learning about all the heroes that helped pave the way for him and his family to have a successful life.

With it being African American history month, the 6-foot-9, 220-pounder wants others, especially youth, to recognize all the people and the historic moments that helped shape our country’s core values and use that knowledge to motivate them like it did for him.

This is precisely what Aminu, a dual citizen of the United States and Nigeria, helped do on Thursday when he joined Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw and 30 kids from the Valencia College Horizon Scholars Program and Valencia College Downtown and West Campuses on a tour to learn about the rich history of Orlando’s Parramore community.

The tour, which featured seven prominent landmarks in the Parramore community including the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture and Tinker Field, where Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. once gave a speech, was both educational and inspirational for Aminu and the others.

“It’s amazing to know where you come from,” Aminu said. “I think it’s important to understand all the things that had to happen in order for you to be where you are at today. I think it gives you appreciation as well as context.”

Aminu, a 29-year-old who is currently recuperating from a knee injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season, takes tremendous pride in his heritage. His father, Aboubakar Aminu, came to the U.S. from Nigeria for college and his mother, Anjirlic, is a U.S. native. The Magic’s defensive ace when healthy was born and raised in Atlanta and he plays basketball internationally for Nigeria, which will be competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

When he was growing up, Aminu remembers hearing about civil rights pioneers and everything they did to make positive change. The courage they had and the lessons he learned from their messages encouraged him during his youth and made him want to work as hard as possible to accomplish his goals.

The hope is that the students who partook in Tuesday’s sightseeing will have the same appreciation as Aminu does for America’s community champions. It helps, as Valencia College Downtown Campus Executive Dean Dr. Eugene Jones sees it, that one of their athletic heroes was there with them to acquire all this knowledge.

“I think any time you have a person, a Magic player or some individual that has been successful and someone that they can identify with, it helps them see themselves in those places of success,” Jones said. “What’s really unique, though, is that you see this person with athletic ability that’s giving back to the community and that’s what we want to leave with the students. No matter what your pathway to success might be, it’s really, really important that you maintain that connection with the community. That you always give back and in that sense your ability to impact people goes beyond a stadium or an arena and it go through generations of lives that you touched.”

Tuesday’s tour was the first of several events the Magic have planned during Black History Month. They will be paying tribute to Orlando Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale Jr., a member of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters and Black Chief Officers Committee, prior to the team’s game on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.

The Magic are also proud sponsors and supporters of Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Humanitarian Service Awards, which will take place on Feb. 29 at Walt Disney World as part of Mayor Dyer’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. In addition, the team is sponsoring and supporting the United Negro College Fund’s 18th Annual Black History Month Luncheon on March 20. Funds will help deserving students obtain a college education who otherwise would not have the financial resources to attend college.

February is a chance for the entire NBA family to honor civil rights pioneers through various recognition programs and events in communities around the league.

The Magic celebrate diversity and embrace its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community—understanding what can be accomplished when everyone works together to achieve legendary moments. The Magic are committed to creating an environment in which employees, community partners and fans feel welcome, valued and appreciated.

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