America’s Growing Pains bring out the Best in People
By: Parrish L. Stahl
Recently the movie 42 came out which chronicles the life and struggles the legendary Jackie Robison, the first African American to play in the major leagues. Whether you love the game of baseball or not this is a movie everyone should see. Baseball is part of the fabric of America and during hard times the game is there to say in part to the world, that the health of America over its history; has often been tied to the game. Excluding African Americans or any deserving athlete was wrong; and thus America was wrong. Jackie Robinson was a great ball player, but by all accounts he was a good and brave human being. He literally made so many around him change their minds and see injustice because of the person he was. Every player and person that followed no matter what their race or individual struggles had doors open because of him. Our president is our president because of every person who came before him.
Are not people that open doors of any kind a path of righteousness for our country? Jason Collins may be the first openly gay player in the NBA but many insiders say he is not the first. He is the first one to be brave enough to announce to the world publicly who he is. The response to his announcement has been overwhelmingly positive. Is not America ready to do the right thing on a variety of civil rights fronts?
Ed Roberts, who many people call the father of the Independent Living Movement, started the first Center for Independent Living in Berkley, California in the 1960’s. His message of access, right to choices and working to end discrimination had so many things in common with Jackie Robison and Jason Collins, but what stands out is the bravery it takes to be one of the firsts or the few. Are not we all better off because of growing pains and the struggles we all endure? Sometimes people and movements get complacent. We need to remember that Jackie, Jason and Ed were a beginning; we owe it to them to keep the world moving forward. What can you do help with what is a continuing struggle? Can you share your knowledge of how far we have come, but also understand that there is a long road ahead?