Taking initiative to create change 

The year was 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. A talented and versatile player, Robinson won the National League Rookie of the Year award his first season, and helped the Dodgers to the National League championship – the first of his six trips to the World Series. In 1949 Robinson won the league MVP award, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Despite his skill, Robinson faced insults and threats because of his race.

When general manager Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers offered Robinson the chance to break organized baseball’s unwritten color barrier, the talented ballplayer not only accepted, he also agreed to Rickey’s condition: that he not respond to the abuse he would face.

For two years Robinson endured abuse both verbal and physical, but he stuck to his word until 1949 when he finally broke his silence. Robinson become an outspoken and controversial opponent of racial discrimination. He took the initiative to step up for the rights of others and led other players to urge baseball to use its economic power to help desegregate Southern towns which is where most spring training camps took place. Jackie Robinson provided a important example of successful desegregation. Upon his retirement in 1957, he took that same initiative to increase employment opportunities for African Americans.

Robinson took the initiative and did the work to bring about change. His success encouraged the integration of professional football, basketball, and tennis.

His work reminds me of two quotes from Mahatma Ghandi:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

“The future depends on what you do today.”

It takes initiative to get started toward making change. The initiatives we take today, will create the change we seek for our future, our kids’ future, and the future of those that will follow.

Posted by [email protected] On 10 February, 2019 at 5:58 PM  

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