Teams are currently residing at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in order to safely resume the NBA season amid the pandemic, with restrictions on players leaving the complex.
The 35-year-old Paul, who plays for Oklahoma City Thunder, says that environment has provided an opportunity for athletes to “educate” each other on a number of social issues.
In recent weeks, stars from both the men’s and women’s game have been vocal in their support of the Black Lives Matter movement which has gained momentum after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“I think guys have done an unbelievable job speaking on different issues that they’re passionate about. The Breonna Taylor situation, right? We can’t stop saying her name,” Paul told Chris Haynes, in an interview with TNT.
“I actually went to the pool at our hotel last night and just saw guys talking. You know, you don’t get to do that during the regular season. It’s always in passing.”
In the build up to the US Presidential election this year, players, such as LeBron James, have been encouraging the Black community to “know their voting rights.”
Four years ago, lower Black participation was blamed on efforts to restrict voting rights as well as online disinformation campaigns and apathy.
“I was talking to Darius Bazley, one of my teammates, about voting the other day so understanding how powerful our voice is to get people to get out and vote,” added Paul.
“These kids watch our game. They want to buy our shoes. They want to do all this different type stuff. So we have to really start to use our influence to make sure that they understand the importance of voting and how suppression of the vote is rigged.”
Social Change Fund
The initiative seeks to “support critical and timely issues impacting the Black community” and hopes to make players feel more comfortable when speaking out about social injustices.
“We’ve done so much individually and we felt like it was time to actually come together and do something,” Paul said. “We felt like we could be a lot more powerful if we do that.
“So our Social Change Fund is all about reaching out to others, not acting like we have all the answers.”