The keynote speaker at the 20th Annual Martin Luther King Community Breakfast shared how racism wounded him, and how three special teachers helped him begin to heal and succeed as a student.
Chad Sims, 36, among the youngest speakers ever at the Monday morning gathering honoring the impact of the late clergyman and civil rights leader, talked of his carefree, younger years in Columbus with friends of other races until a middle school atmosphere of racial tension changed all that.
“I’m not here to castigate,” said Sims, son of community leaders Pastor Jane and Bishop Charles Sims of Calvary Community Church, speaking at the Columbus North High School cafeteria. “I’m not here to throw stones, but I am here to tell my story.”
Sims, currently a doctoral counseling psychology student at Ball State University, said his Columbus middle school experience could be summed up in one thought: “If you’re black, we don’t want you here.”
Sims said he found myself isolated, abandoned and alone. But after his middle school experience, Sims said three teachers in high school came alongside him to show him love, affirmation and encouragement.