Arthur Ashe’s brother encourages Richmonders to keep fighting for social justice

Arthur Ashe's brother celebrates his legacy

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As Richmond prepares to kick off a weekend of celebration in honor of tennis legend and social justice advocate Arthur Ashe, a huge crowd gathered Thursday night with a special guest at the forefront.

Arthur Ashe’s brother, Johnny Ashe, addressed a crowd of supporters ahead of the official re-naming of Boulevard in his brother’s honor.

"It’s not about us. It’s about making a better world for our kids,” Johnny Ashe said.

Words of wisdom from a man who did everything he could to be here today.

“(Arthur Ashe) was a name that most certainly was circulated in my household that people knew but people didn’t really understand his story, the work he was doing outside of tennis, his global impact,” Enjoli Moon of the Afrikana Film Festival said. "I don’t think that’s something that most Richmonders truly grasped.”

A social justice forum Thursday kicked off a weekend of festivities for the re-naming of Boulevard to Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

On any given morning, you will find Shima and Joe Grover maintaining and adding touches of beauty to the Arthur Ashe, Jr. monument on Monument Avenue.
On any given morning, you will find Shima and Joe Grover maintaining and adding touches of beauty to the Arthur Ashe, Jr. monument on Monument Avenue. (Source: NBC12)

"Once he got to a certain level and he knew he had a platform, he understood the importance of equality and equity and access and he worked extremely hard to make that happen,” Moon added.

Ashe fought apartheid and marched for Civil Rights closer to home.

"We have kids that don’t know him yet. Heck, we have some adults that don’t know him,” Ashe’s nephew David Harris said.

That's what this is all about - not just a celebration, but awareness and appreciation.

"To be able to elevate a legacy in the naming of a street of one of our most frequented thoroughfares, I think means a great deal,” Moon said.

In tears, Arthur Ashe's brother encouraged Richmonders to keep fighting for the things that truly matter.

"That’s what the Master intended,” Johnny Ashe added.

The Arthur Ashe Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
The Arthur Ashe Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond. (Source: NBC12)

Saturday morning the new street sign unveiling will happen at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture followed by a community celebration with food, fun, and even free tennis clinics at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center.

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