January 31, 2020- Lynn, MA– KIPP Massachusetts, The Red Sox, and The Red Sox Foundation began celebrating Black History Month on Friday, January 31, by commemorating the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson on what would have been his 101st birthday. Grades 4 through 8 at KIPP Academy in Lynn learned the story of Robinson’s challenges and triumphs from Red Sox Hall of Famer Tommy Harper and Branch Ricky III, the grandson of Branch Rickey who signed Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Rebekah Salwasser, Executive Director of the Red Sox Foundation, and Elaine Steward, Vice President/Club Counsel of the Red Sox spoke about their experiences growing up, finding their careers, and what Jackie Robinson means to them. Jae Holland, Senior Manager at the Red Sox and Lynn native shared his story with students and encouraged them to have pride in where they come from. Adam Pellerin of NESN moderated the discussion.
KIPP Academy Lynn Principal Farida Mama Graham opened the assembly by honoring the contributions of Black visionaries and leaders such as President Barack Obama, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou, and with a famous quote from Jackie Robinson: “Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.” The assembly also featured an appearance by the Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster, and included displays of Jackie Robinson memorabilia and the Red Sox World Series trophies. Students were able to take pictures with the trophies by class and each received a hat with 42 on the front to honor Jackie Robinson. KIPP MA will continue to celebrate Black History Month with events for students, parents, and staff.