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Jun, 2020

Harlem Little League Statement on BLM Protests

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me … All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” — Jackie Robinson

As I write this message, the country is dealing with a global health crisis and the horrific death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The streets of Harlem, and indeed the world, are filled with protestors fighting an unjust system. Like many of you, I am deeply disturbed, saddened, worried and exhausted by the intersection of it all. The rampant injustice and systemic disparities are not new, but they are freshly exposed.

Harlem Little League was born because of a lack of youth sports in our community in 1989. Our founders turned that lack into an opportunity for their son, and indeed a whole neighborhood. Throughout our 30-plus years, the league has provided opportunities for the children of Harlem to develop into Big League Citizens. This will always be our core mission.

While we are not able to play ball this season, it doesn’t mean I am not thinking of our 400+ players and their families. The benches outside of Jackie Robinson Park are not filled with family members; the dusty field at Rucker Park is quiet, and the bleachers at Shea Field in Mount Morris Park are empty. The streets of Harlem, however, are abuzz with activity as many protest and march to fight injustice. I want you to know that Harlem Little League supports these efforts for change in our community and beyond.

Harlem Little League will not offer organized baseball this summer because social distancing is in place. However, that does not mean you cannot engage in physical activity. You can safely visit our parks with your family. Practice your hitting and catching near your home, or simply work on your physical strength by exercising in your bedroom.

On behalf of the Board of Harlem Little League, we want you to know that we miss you, we respect you, and we hear you.

In solidarity,
Stephanie Washington
President, Harlem Little League

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