Chris Singleton delivered an inspiring message of the power of forgiveness in overcoming adversity in his address to the Brookdale College community on February 13 as part of the African American History Month series of events on campus. Singleton’s mother was murdered along with eight other victims at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015 by a white supremacist.
Singleton described the shock and pain of the day when he learned that his mother was killed and having to share that news with his 12-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister. He said that the example of his mother, who was also a pastor at the church, helped him on the road to forgiveness and in moving forward in his life.
“I truly believe that love is stronger than hate,” said Singleton. “Forgiveness is a process and doesn’t come overnight.” He said education at an early age is a key in shaping opinions and promoting interaction.
In his presentation, Singleton urged audience members to hug another individual in the room who does not look like them and say I love you. He explained that we have more in common as members of the human family than we often acknowledge. Singleton encouraged audience members to tell their loved ones how they feel, because we do not know which day is our last.
In introducing Singleton, Brookdale President Dr. David Stout said his refusal to let hate and violence change the core of your faith and “who you are as a person is more than admirable and is a testament to your character and an affirmation of your mother’s life and example.”
President Stout cited recent figures about the alarming rise in hate and bias crimes in New Jersey and nationally.
“Chris Singleton’s message of the power of love and forgiveness is needed more than ever in these troubled times where tolerance for others and their beliefs is declining,” said President Stout.
Following a collegiate career at Charleston Southern University, Singleton played professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization for two seasons before retiring. He has brought his message of love and forgiveness in overcoming adversity to more than 65,000 individuals at college campuses and other venues.
Singleton’s presentation was sponsored by the Office of Student Life and Activities.
Chris Singleton met with members of Brookdale’s Black Student Union and President David Stout prior to his presentation. Left to right: President Stout, Manny Rosario, Diamond Bullock (BSU president), Chris Singleton, Ovian Anderson (BSU vice president) and Bobby Caze.