Dwyane Wade continues to back up his commitment to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Monday discussing the $200,000 grant he and wife Gabrielle Union have made toward the March 24 "March For Our Lives" in Washington, as well as his decision to extend the Wynwood warehouse-district tribute to the 17 slain in the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland.
Wade said he stressed during last week's visit on the day the school reopened to students that he planned to move forward with his vow to assist in any way possible.
"Sitting down, talking to the kids at Stoneman, I asked them what's the best way for us to get involved," Wade said before sitting out Monday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center due to a hamstring injury. "They gave us a few different options. We had a few different things we wanted to do, as well. We kind of felt this was the best way. We want to get a lot of people involved from the NBA standpoint and hopefully beyond that. So I definitely wanted to get the ball rolling."
Wade said the $200,000 from himself and his actress wife is to get students from his Chicago hometown to Washington, with plans also to assist youths wanting to participate in the parallel march in Chicago.
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"They're doing marches in each state, especially NBA cities," he said, with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony among other players vowing to get involved. "We're trying to get individuals involved in those cities to be able to help kids go to those marches, as well, if they can't go to D.C.
"For us to be able to send kids to D.C., also to support kids in Chicago throughout this process, is something that me and my wife want to do."
Wade spent last season with the Chicago Bulls, where he worked toward curbing the inner-city violence there, taking a similar stance now against episodes such as the Parkland shooting, making sure to listen to those impacted.
"It was more so going to talk to the kids, talk to the leaders and understand what's the goal," he said. "It wasn't just, 'Oh, it's a march. I want to put my name behind it.' It was really, like, ask some questions like, 'OK, I understand you guys are doing a march. I've never been a part of a march. What is the goal of the march? What are we trying to accomplish now and what are we trying to accomplish in the future?'
"And really sitting down to listen to the things they want to accomplish, I felt not only is it something that I want to support them, it's also a part of the same the message I'm trying to do in Chicago, in the inner city, as well. It definitely was in line with what I want to do, as well."
The Heat play Friday, March 23 in Oklahoma City and then have a road game March 25 against the Indiana Pacers, making it unlikely Wade would be able to attend a march.
"As I told them, obviously most NBA players and guys are in season," he said. "We're playing a game every other day. From that standpoint, our presence may not be there, but we want to make sure the support is there, even if we can't be there in person."
As for the art exhibit in Wynwood, Wade said the response was so strong that it has been extended for an additional week, beyond what was supposed to be Sunday's closing.
"It touched me," Wade said of attending the exhibit Saturday night, "being there and being able to talk to the families, being able to talk to the kids that were at the school at the time, being able to see people who are in the community coming in to pay their respects and celebrate their lives. That's what we're trying to do. We're trying to celebrate the lives that were taken, not let people forget.
"I thought it was something cool we were able to put together and it was something meaningful we were able to put together, that we're actually extending to the next week. It became something that we gave people an opportunity to come pay their respects. We gave them an opportunity to come learn more information. We gave them an opportunity to have a voice."
Wade made the visit on the night he had to leave the Heat's victory over the Washington Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena due to his hamstring injury.
"It's still tough," he said of being around the Parkland families. "It's still sad, but it's still a good moment to remember the kids, tell stories about them, have the students come and talk about them and just kind of find some joy in their stories and their lives and celebrating their lives."