It is fantastic to be writing to you again! Each month I eagerly anticipate writing my column, but also struggle with the topic to cover. With the recent shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as well as the five police officers in Dallas, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa it seemed like a natural place to go. But instead of living in the divisiveness of the moment, I wanted to highlight my positive experiences of being Black in America.
Every coin has two sides. For all the conversations about the negative treatment of African American in our country, there are also stories of hope, resilience and achievement. Our country has been the home to some of the greatest leaders in the world, many of whom are of African American descent. I think of President Barak Obama, Booker T. Washington, WEB DuBois, Harold Washington, Ben Carson, just to name a few. Living on the shoulders of those giants has always given me great pride, strength and inspiration, an inspiration that I pass down to our players each day. To this day those American legends allow me to echo in my mind the catchy phrase “I am somebody!”, as Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. always taught us when I was a kid.
One of my favorite songs of all time is Will Smith’s Summer Time. The emotions and great memories that the melodies invoke are that of the aroma of great BBQ, family members talking (sometimes in fierce contention) and laughing, kids playing, music playing loudly and the sun shining. Those moments were always inherently peaceful; a moment when family, community and the kindness of humanity merged into something spectacular and indescribable. Those moments we the epitome of “being American.”
For me, being Black in American has never been a curse, but a blessing, a promise still to be fulfilled, and opportunity of greatness afforded in few places around the world. I have experienced a life full diversity and difference. My family, players, friends and colleagues range every hue and lifestyle you could imagine. I honestly believe my blackness has not secluded me, but instead encouraged me to wander outside my comfort zone.
Naturally the baseball diamond has always been my sanctuary, my place of peace, my social club, place where seeds of discontent were not allowed to be sown, a place where the faces across the field look like a rainbow because of diversity. The baseball diamond is the glimpse of America at its best and in times at its worst, but none the less, the most American thing you could ever see.
This is what I hope I can instill in my children, players and volunteers. Life is not about what makes us different by where we can find common ground. For Lost Boyz, it is on the field, during community service projects or during our tutoring sessions. Our volunteers and couches work hard to create a system of hope and respect within our programs.
Our mission to improve the social and emotional condition in our community. No matter the divisiveness and turmoil happening in our world, we at Lost Boyz continue to plant seeds of hope. United we stand, divided we fall… our problems are shared as are our successes.
I love who I am, I love my countrymen, and I love my nation. Let’s not forget the allegiance that ties and binds us all together, no matter what, and remember what our Republic stands for……..One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.
Until next time, Cheers…..