South Bronx, NY: This Thursday August 18 will be the anniversary of Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker’s birthday. Clemente was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico on August 18, 1934, making him 88 years young today. You might wonder why I write as if Clemente was alive and with us today?
The fact is that you don’t have to be from my hometown, Guayama, Puerto Rico, La Ciudad de Los Brujos (The town of witches) to understand what I am about to say: Roberto Clemente is still with us, of course not physically, but more important, spiritually. His energy is always anywhere someone is doing something to make this a better world for all. He could not have said it better when he said, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”
Every Thursday August 18th Latino Sports tried to commemorate Clemente’s birthday as we did with the 21 Day of Clemente every December culminating on the 31st of December the day of the fateful plane crash that took his physical life. The reason we do this is because the spirit of his humanitarianism overshadowed his baseball records. No doubt that Clemente was one of the most complete five tool players in the history of the game. His attributes on the field are acknowledge in the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY. However, very few people today really do not know more than his humanitarianism to help hurricane ravaged Nicaragua and losing his physical life on that fateful mission on December 31st, 1972.
Clemente was much more than his tireless work to raise money and help Nicaragua back then. Clemente did a lot more during his entire career. His actions did not capture the attention of the corporate news media as his passing did. But trust me, Clemente changed many lives by simply being a very down to earth player that never allowed his glory, fame, and his salary back then (#100K in 2013 dollars that was equivalent to approximately one million, in today’s dollars much more) suffice to say Clemente was PAID. However, he never allowed any of that to change the essence of that Carolina boy born into a struggling family who appreciated what they had and willing to work hard and still share with others.
One of our most popular events was four years ago when we had a birthday party at Clemente Plaza on 149th St. and Third Ave. We had cupcakes for the community that all read “Happy BDay Clemente.” We also gave Happy Birthday Roberto Clemente stickers to everyone who attended and many who were just walking by. I personally have seen Clemente’s spirit manifested when I heard a young African third grade student read a composition at one of our 21 Days of Clemente events and state details about Clemente’s humanitarianism. She concluded her composition with, “I just wish you were still here today.” If a third-grade African student here in the South Bronx feels it, then all we need to do is share it.
Tomorrow Wednesday I will be part of a panel along with two friends and colleague (see invitation below) in a unique event organized by #Alliance4GlobalJustice that will be promoted in New York, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles and in Nicaragua.
Congratulations to the organizers for helping to keep Clemente’s legacy alive. I encourage all our readers to tune in.
SPECIAL NOTE: If anyone wants Clemente Bday sticker, just write any comment in the comment section with ur contact inf. and we will mail one to you free of charge.
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