There have been many people throughout my life who have contributed to my life and my mission and cause for financial literacy. Few carry as much weight as the late Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, former pastor of First A.M.E. of Los Angeles. Reverend Murray was a friend to Los Angeles, and a friend and mentor to me. In the aftermath of the LA Riots in 1992, amidst the hurt and turmoil felt by many and the fires that blazed through the streets in the night, Reverend Murray brought a calming presence that helped us all unite and go forward to a brighter future.

Rev. Murray was an inspiration and contributor to HOPE’s model and vision for economic and community development. When I sought to rebuild the city, I called home and pave a path forward towards the American dream for people in low-to-moderate income communities, it was Reverend Murray who helped me connect the mission from the streets to the suites. It was under his tutelage that I began to learn how our particular brand of activism and community work could have long-lasting and far-reaching implications not just in South Central Los Angeles, but around the country.

We have seen the direct contribution of Rev. Murray in the work of Operation HOPE. That work alone has touched the lives of thousands and continues to inspire and empower thousands more. But I’m not the only one who he mentored, whose life he touched, and who learned from his example what it means to be a leader. When you add up the people he influenced and the souls he embraced and empowered, over a long 94-year span, and the work that they’ve carried on behalf of the people, the total number of lives he’s impacted easily stretches into the millions if not more.

Thank you, Reverend Murray, for your life and your work. Your living was not in vain.

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