It’s been 10 years, but A.C. Green still remembers the day clearly. He remembers the words his coach said. “Earvin has the HIV virus that causes AIDS.” Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Magic Johnson? Magic?
“This was the first time I had heard those words about anyone, anytime, anywhere,” Green says. “If I hadn’t been sitting, I would have fallen over.”
What happened to Magic is still hard for Green to accept. Because he knows it didn’t ever have to happen. He knows it shouldn’t ever have to happen. To anyone.
“The consequences of the way he had lived seemed too harsh, too cruel, yet they were the consequences,” Green says. “I couldn’t change that.” Yet he is committed to spreading the message to youth that they don’t have to face the same consequences. They have a choice.
Green established the A.C. Green Youth Foundation (www.acgreen.com) in 1989. The Foundation is committed to helping youth reach their full potential. Green says that a key component is explaining the concept of impact. “The decisions you make today will directly impact your tomorrow,” he says. “What happened to Magic is a harsh representation of this reality. But it is vital to realize that it doesn’t have to be the reality for today’s youth. They can choose abstinence.”
Green’s message is gaining popularity. Recent studies suggest that approximately half of American high school students have not had sex. And the number is growing. Green’s Foundation recently created a new Web site,www.ClubAC.com, to provide support to youth who choose abstinence (AC stands for ‘Abstinence Committed’).
“What we are seeing from the youth we work with is a commitment to goals,” Green says. “I talk to kids that want to be doctors, teachers, athletes…and they know it takes discipline to achieve these goals. They also know that the decisions they make today will either make it easier, or harder, to succeed. There is no freedom from consequences and there is no middle ground. They know it, and they are choosing success.”