Thursday, April 15, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Today Major League Baseball honors the memory of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson. Without Robinson’s bravery, the landscape of baseball and the United States would be different.
My early years were parallel to Robinson’s young adulthood. From the age of 2.7 to 17, I lived only eight blocks from where Jackie Robinson grew up. If I was allowed to attend my neighborhood high school, I would have attended the same high school, Muir, as Robinson did.
Since I have physical disabilities, I was not allowed to attend a regular school until I was in fifth grade. I could not attend a regular class until seventh grade even though the government had passed a law saying all disabled students shall have “the least restrictive environment” three years before I began school.
My parents had countless meetings with my principal and the school district personnel to allow me to learn next to my able-bodied counterparts. The school employers continually lied to my parents. Being segregated hurt my education, and some of my teachers resented me since my parents wanted me out of special education classes.
My parents taught me about Robinson and Roy Campanella from an early age. Unlike my disabled classmates, I was not taught to be ashamed of my disabilities. Even now, people want to know why I am disabled and to see if my disabilities could have been prevented. At fifty, I wish people would accept me for whom I am and not see me as a disabled character. By the way, no one could have prevented me from being disabled, and I have learned to be a productive citizen.
Many times, I have turned the other cheek when people have discriminated against me as a disabled woman. When I speak out as a disabled woman, people think I don’t know where my place is. At Pasadena City College, the same junior college as Robinson attended, I learned how to write eloquently and express my ideas clearly.
What I have faced as a disabled woman pales to the comparison to what Jackie Roosevelt Robinson faced. Without Robinson, I would not have been educated or given the opportunity to write for Major League Baseball Advanced Media for eighteen years. Thank you, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, for opening doors for everyone.
Would Robinson be happy with the United States today?
No. Robinson would have pleased to know the United States had a black president in Barack Obama. However, he would have been disappointed to know the United States has racism, sexism, and ableism. This country needs to look beyond skin color, gender, and ability.
Thursday, April 15, 2021