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Inclusion

Rick Christie

He/Him/His

Executive Editor of The Palm Beach Post, and Deputy Regional Editor for USA TODAY Network- Florida听

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Talk to me about a place where you can be yourself.

The place where I’m most comfortable is at a beach in the Caribbean. I grew up in Stewart, this small coastal town in southern Florida, and the beach was always a big part of my life. Its a place where I could go and relax. I had this one ritual, when I would come home from college, and go to the beach and sit and just listen to the waves for a while to calm and center myself before I went home. The beaches in the Caribbean are just beautiful and so many of them are unspoiled. My favorite one is Smith Cove in the Cayman Islands, which is named after my wife’s family.

What has been your biggest teachable moment so far?

The birth of my first daughter. It’s amazing how much I always considered myself a relatively mature person, but 滨鈥檓 telling you, it’s nothing like having a child. I felt grown and so on, but I did not realize just how much growing up I still had to do as a man and as a person. It’s going to sound kind of cheesy, but when I first held my daughter after she was born, I looked at her and her eyes opened just briefly. I听was like oh wow, there’s a whole other level of responsibility here, you know? And I thought I was ready for this, but people don’t know what it’s like until you are responsible for another human being.

So, if you were to win an award, what would be your theme song or walk-up song and why?

Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison. It’s just so freaking catchy and everything, man. You can walk to the rhythm and the words are cool. And I can even do the Kappa Stroll (Throws up the Fraternity hand signal.)

If you could talk about something for 30 minutes without preparation, what would it be?

Rum. You see my ancestry is Bohemia, and my grandfather came to the U.S. in the early 20s and 30s with his siblings. I started collecting rums because one of my correspondents was in the Caribbean, so he would bring me back a bottle of rum from whatever island he went to. And I really wasn’t a rum drinker to be honest, but then I realized it was a way to connect my Bahamian roots and my grandfather’s legacy.听

So, finish this sentence if I’m not working, you can find me…

Rummaging through boxes at a comic bookstore. Yeah, I collect comic books. I’ve been doing that since I was like 8 or 9 years old. I had a couple of friends that I grew up with who bought books as well, and we would trade. We would carry a grocery bag of books from one house to the next. The only time I did not buy comic books was the four years that I was in college, because I needed to eat. So basically, I was like, you get either buy a comic book or you can eat. After I got out of college, I started buying books again. And I have a collection of over 20,000 books.

What got you into journalism in the first place?

I think it started back when I was growing up when my mom would buy my siblings and I books to read. We grew up in the projects and she really loved to read, so, she would get us books to read to expand our minds. We were one of the first kids in our neighborhood to have a full set of encyclopedias. Now, I must admit, I was a little hardheaded, so I didn’t read enough, but I started reading comic books and that’s really where my love of reading came from. And then as I got older, obviously I started reading novels and other stuff like that, but. But it started with my mom encouraging us to read.

When I was in the 10th grade, I was in expository writing class. My teacher, Mr. Shackleford gave me a note to take home to my parents, and I was like oh God, man, I’m going to get in trouble. And I didn’t even read the note because I just thought, you take it home and get ready to get behind the wood. And so, I gave it to my dad. He reads it and he is like, 鈥淒id you read this?鈥 And I was like, 鈥渘o, Sir鈥.听 The note from Mr. Shackleford said that I showed a great talent for writing, and I should be encouraged to keep it up. And I was like, whoa! I avoided the wood. And, after that, I joined the school newspaper and became editor.听

Who continues to inspire you?

I think my story is like many people particularly Black professionals. There was a teacher who made a difference in your life, who sparked something within you, who encouraged you when you 飞别谤别苍鈥檛 getting encouragement from other places or challenged you to prove them wrong. And I think that is something that is relatively unique to Black people in this country. There are teachers in our lives who were extremely important and that’s why I have such a great appreciation for them now.

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