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MemberJanuary 11, 2021 at 10:32 am
In a week in which there was an attempted coup to take over the United States government, sparked by divisive words from the president, the Players Alliance united both Black and white baseball players to support residents of Oak Cliff, a neighborhood in the Dallas, Texas, area. Founded to empower Black communities, the Players Alliance comprises itself of over 100 former and current Black ballplayers. On Sunday, however, race didn’t come between those willing to sacrifice time and warmth in order to supply up to 350 cars with necessities related to Covid-19 help, produce, and baseball equipment.
The 23rd stop in the 33-city “Pull Up Neighbor” tour around the country teamed up Clayton Kershaw and former Dodger Matt Kemp once more, this time in snowing conditions. They were joined by Rangers players Taylor Hearns and Demarcus Evans, Torii Hunter, Rangers General Manager Chris Young, Rangers President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels, Nationals first baseman Josh Bell, and Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.
“To be able to feed kids that might not have the food they need, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?” asked Kershaw, known for his charitable work in both this country and Africa. Kershaw went on to reveal an increased awareness of the economic and social justice disparities between Black and white communities. “There were things that I didn’t understand what they meant, things like systemic racism. I thought you either were racist or you weren’t. I didn’t know that sometimes the system creates them. To learn some of that and understand some of that, you realize you can’t just be silent about it. Sometimes you have to use your voice to be an ally.”
Taylor Hearn, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers, saw Sunday as a success and a “step in the right direction.” “It’s a slow process, but it feels like people are getting more aware and being supportive. It feels like everybody is pulling on the same rope.”
This is key in the effort across the globe to bring equal opportunities to all. MLB, represented by Black players in only 8.4% of rosters in 2019, matched the players’ donation of $1 million to fund the tour. There is still much work to do and it’s looking like we can look to the Players Alliance for leadership in this critical era in history.
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