Racism still is a major issue in the United States, and Boston sports teams plan to make sure their fans are educated on the matter.
After two incidents of racism took place at Fenway Park on back-to-back game days in May, the Boston Red Sox got to work on coming up with a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And after months of working with local politicians and community organizers, the team will reveal an anti-racism public service announcement featuring a call for action from local athletes on Sept. 28 at an event at Fenway.
“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this,” Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”
The Red Sox did their research, meeting with state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester and president of the Boston branch of the NAACP Tanisha Sullivan to come up with the best way to stand against racism. The three agreed that the Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, New England Patriots and New England Revolution also should get involved, and they later met with Boston mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker.
“We thought it would be incredibly powerful for this initiative to include not just the Red Sox but all of our professional sports teams,” Sullivan told The Globe. “Because this was not just an issue involving the Red Sox and Fenway Park.”
The event at Fenway will include a discussion about racism moderated by Roxbury Presbyterian Church’s Rev. Liz Walker and WBZ-TV broadcaster Steve Burton. The video features both black and white athletes, and Sullivan sees sports as the perfect platform for their efforts.
“Sports, as an entity, is a unifier,” Sullivan said. “It cuts across all races, all ethnicities, and all genders, and we have an opportunity through this campaign to reach people we might not otherwise be able to reach.”
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images