Thank you, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson!

Saturday, August 29, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

Friday was when Major League Baseball remembered Jackie Roosevelt Robinson. On that day in 1945, Robinson met Branch Rickey for the first time.

When COVID-19 postponed the 2020 Major-League season, many people feared Major League Baseball would cancel Jackie Roosevelt Robinson Day. With the civil unrest sparked by police brutality against two black men, George Floyd and Jacob Blake, celebrating Jackie Roosevelt Robinson breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues seems more important than ever before.

For most of us, not having players of color allowed to participate in the Major Leagues is unfathomable. We have grown up watching black, Latino, and Asian players. We had black classmates. We have black co-workers. Many of us have black friends.

Before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robinson broke the color barrier and suffered racial abuse. Robinson did not fight back, even though some abuse was violent. When Robinson was successful integrating the Major Leagues, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka Kansas that separate was not equal and allowed black students to go with their white counterparts to school.

I can’t understand how anyone can judge a person on his skin color. A person cannot control his skin color, so judging a person on something that he cannot control is wrong. A person’s character, work ethic, and personality are aspects that people should be judged.

People think since I am white, I have not experienced prejudice or segregation. This is WRONG. From first to seventh grade, I was educated separately from my able-bodied peers since I use a wheelchair, cannot speak understandably, or cannot use my hands. Without my mom’s tutoring and encouraging me to study, I would not be capable of attending a regular class since special education teachers were happy to instruct me the minimum. After all, I could not work at a paying job.

When I go out, sometimes ignorant people ask if I can understand them. I am not deaf. I am intelligent. When I accomplish something, I hear, “You’re so inspirational.” I know people think they are complimenting me, but they are demeaning my accomplishments. I cannot find a job because I am homebound, and people unfairly criticize my writing since I am disabled. Some people think they can tell me how to think because of my disabilities. This is unfair and prejudicial treatment, which I detest. However, I do not know how to stop it, except showing I am capable of.

I am thankful to Robinson to open doors for all minorities to participate in society. His nonviolent protests should still be an example. I have a dream all people will have equal opportunities and legal treatment. No one should be judged on something that he cannot control.

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