The Oakland Athletics have recognized Richmond native and East Palo Alto physical education teacher Stephen Ashford as the team’s first Community Champion for 2021, an honor bestowed weekly during the month of December to people who have made a difference in their communities.
A description on the Oakland Athletics website describes why Ashford is deserving of this honor:
“Stephen Ashford, or as he is known Mr. Steve, is a P.E. teacher in East Palo Alto Charter School within the Aspire school system, and our first Community Champion for 2021. Stephen has made a significant impact on the lives of many of his students. He grew up in Richmond, Calif. expressing his creative energy through rap music. As a parent and teacher, Stephen now spends his time connecting with children through music and athletics. He has used his music as a vehicle for change and to inspire kids in the Bay Area and across the country. Notably, he created a music video of a PG-rated inspirational rap song, ‘Stay in School,’ featuring notable Bay Area Rappers, such as E-40, Keak Da Sneak, Mac N AK and many more, that has been played on BET and has more than 18,000 hits on YouTube. In addition to inspiring children through his music, Stephen also leads a yearly celebrity basketball game with notable Bay Area sports superstars and is a catalyst for many fundraisers that benefit Bay Area Schools.”
Those recognized as Community Champions are nominated by the public and receive a special gift. Learn more about the award here.