First Annual Civil & Human Rights Education Day

On Wednesday, April 23rd, the Atlanta Braves kicked off Heritage Weekend by hosting our first annual Civil & Human Rights Education Day at Turner Field sponsored by Bank of America. This educational program, which was attended by over 600 middle and high school students, took place behind the Atlanta Braves dugout before the Wednesday’s game and focused on civil & human rights with an emphasis on baseball.

The event was hosted by Ron Gant, former Atlanta Braves All-Star and current co-host of Good Day Atlanta. The moderator was Doug Shipman, CEO for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Mr. Shipman has an extensive educational background in issues of race, ethnicity and gender including undergraduate and graduate studies in the history of American minority groups and religion.

The program covered topics including the role baseball has played in Civil Rights History, the significance of Atlanta Braves and Atlanta in Civil Rights and the role of students going forward with an emphasis on civil rights and anti-bullying. Ron Gant, first base coach Terry Pendleton, and current Braves pitcher David Hale, spoke to the students about making a difference.

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Although this is the first Civil and Human Rights Education Day, the Atlanta Braves were chosen by MLB to host the Civil Rights Game in 2011 and in 2012 where we honored the likes of Don Newcombe, the first African-American pitcher to reach 20 wins and to start a World Series game, Congressman John Lewis, who has been active in many sit-ins, freedom rides and other peaceful demonstrations and Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman. The Civil Rights Game changes cities every few years, so we introduced the Heritage Weekend in 2013 to continue honoring Atlanta’s rich Civil Rights History.

The 2014 Heritage Weekend will included the Delta Air Lines Champions Luncheon brought to you by State Farm and the Champion of Justice Award Honorees Reception presented by Grady Hospital on May 2nd. It will also include the Heritage Weekend Youth Clinic, the Negro League Reception presented by Grady Hospital and a postgame concert by Kool & the Gang presented by Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines on Saturday, May 3rd. The 2014 awardees include Joe Barry Carroll, retired NBA All Star, Jackie Joyner-Kersey, track and field Olympic legend and gold medalist, Edwin Moses, former track and field Olympic legend and gold medalist and Reverend C.T. Vivian, civil rights legend and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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All students that participated in the Civil & Human Rights Education Day received an outfield seat for the game, lunch voucher, the educational program, and free Braves Museum access that day.

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