Who’s On Our Shirt? Arthur Ashe, Professional Tennis Player

Project Know is committed to honoring the legacy of those before us who were victims of HIV/AIDS.  Our featured apparel pays homage to a number of individuals, one being the legendary Arthur Ashe. Arthur Ashe is probably one of the more well known faces in the battle against HIV/AIDS.  While he experienced much success on the tennis court, we are extremely grateful for his voice who spoke up against the virus and for others.

Prior to Venus & Serena Williams, Ashe had his turn dominating the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.  He created a legacy in the sport that led to the naming of a stadium in his honor where the ladies have had some of the most memorable moments of their tennis careers.  Arthur Ashe was a known supporter of civil rights who often spoke about the experience of the black athlete and published a book titled, A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete.  Today, many writers discuss his activism and consider him a hero in different aspects.   In a New York Times article reviewing a biography on Arthur Ashe’s life, journalist, Toure’ compared him to Colin Kaepernick.

We admire Arthur Ashe because he always found a way to use his voice and influence to make change.  As a black athlete in a white dominated sport, he challenged barriers such as segregation and participated in projects addressing racism in sports.  After having multiple heart attacks, he was featured in projects to educate others on maintaining a healthy heart and served as the national campaign chairman for the American Heart Association.  Ashe’s heart surgeries are believed to be what led to his contraction of HIV via blood transfusions. Upon learning his diagnoses of HIV, in true Arthur Ashe fashion, he found a way to use his voice and spread awareness.

His story is the epitome of what Because of You We Know More means to Project Know.  It’s hard to believe blood transfusions took place without being tested but due to people like Arthur Ashe who were affected by HIV/AIDS under medical care, testing is mandatory.  Although Ashe, may have had initial reservations about sharing his status to the world, he went on to establish the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and spoke against negative stigmas.  Arthur Ashe is a man who reflected on his personal experiences and sought to help and educate the world.

Thank you, Arthur Ashe. Because of you we know more.

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