Did I see what I thought that I saw on Sunday, May 15th during the pregame Civil Rights Game ceremony? Did I hear what I thought I heard the Braves PA announcer say? If you were at Turner Field with over 30,000 fans or tuned in with the millions of television viewers on the memorable day, you saw and heard it. Ambassador Andrew Young and Reverend Joseph Lowery stood at the pitcher’s mound with my L.E.A.D. Ambassadors Mendez Elder and Wesley Clement. With a loud and clear voice, the PA announcer said, “Ambassadors Mendez Elder and Wesley Clement, will you accept the legacy passed down to you from Ambassador Young and Reverend Lowery?” After his voice stopped, I saw Ambassador Young and Rev. Lowery give Mendez and Wesley a baseball. Mendez threw his baseball to Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Wesley threw his ball to Jason Heyward. Jason and Ryan hugged both Mendez and Wesley and presented them the baseball.
That was a magical moment for our Ambassadors, the L.E.A.D. organization, the city of Atlanta but most of all, it meant a lot to baseball in the African American community throughout the United States. L.E.A.D. is so much more than baseball. The “D” in the acronym L.E.A.D. is how we direct our Ambassadors using the legacy of legends such as Ambassador Young and Rev. Lowery. These men walked the walk with Atlanta’s own Dr. Martin Luther King. They are still alive to share the stories and keep the dream alive through Mendez and Wesley.
We do accept the legacy passed down from these iconic men. Baseball has been a part of the African American community since the game was created many decades ago. The 2011 Civil Rights Game at Turner Field gave baseball a platform to showcase how baseball is still America’s game for all Americans because of the influence of the Civil Rights Movement that was birthed here in Atlanta.
L.E.A.D. will continue to lead the way with the support of the Atlanta community. We can do this because by the grace of God, we are the solution to using baseball to help inner city males graduate from high school and access college. The only problem with solutions is that you can no longer talk about the problem.
Special thanks to Ambassador Young and Reverend Lowery for keeping the dream alive and being Ambassadors of hope. L.E.A.D. will continue to uphold your legacy with service to the game and world.