Jackie Robinson’s Legacy Lives On In ‘Breaking Barriers’ Contest

The annual essay contest has reached more than 34 million youth.

Seattle Mariners donning the number 42 Jerseys at Safeco Field during Jackie Robinson Day 2018. Photo courtesy of Major League Baseball.

Clubs across Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 with all of the players and on-field personnel in the league wearing the late baseball Hall of Famer and activist Jackie Robinson’s iconic number, 42.


Throughout the league, practice attire and various uniform elements featured a 42 logo, and on-field pregame ceremonies took place — some of which included Jackie Robinson Day Foundation Scholars — as well as activities in some of the clubs’ respective communities.

Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson, and their daughter and son, Sharon and David, attended Jackie Robinson Day ceremonies at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, sharing Jackie’s story of breaking the color barrier in baseball more than 70 years ago — and how his courage changed sports and civil rights in America.

But Robinson knew his legacy wasn’t just about influencing the treatment of athletes that came after him. He urged the league to consider broader steps toward equality in management and ownership of baseball teams, recognizing that sustainable change would come only from leadership that embraced his ideals.

50 years later, the “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life” essay contest and educational program developed in 1997 by the MLB, Scholastic, and Sharon Robinson, utilizes baseball as a metaphor for life to help support and develop future leaders to carry on in Robinson’s footsteps.

It’s based on his values: Citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence, and teamwork, and has reached more than 34 million youth and 4.6 million educators in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The program’s annual essay contest provides opportunities for students from all backgrounds in from fourth grade through ninth to submit an essay about barriers or obstacles in their lives, and how they used the values exemplified by Robinson to face those obstacles.

[new_image position="standard" id="null"]Sharon Robinson and 2017 Grand Prize Winner of the “Breaking Barriers” essay contest, Tank Wright (7-9th grade; Sylacauga, Alabama). Photo courtesy of Major League Baseball.[/new_image]

After receiving thousands of essays from all over the country, this year’s grand prize winning submissions focused on compelling stories about escaping war-torn Eritrea, Africa, and living with a challenging physical condition, written by Selihom Kidane from Charlotte, North Carolina, (fifth grade) and Jesse Quist from Cheyenne, Wyoming. (ninth grade), respectively.

The 2018 Breaking Barriers essay contest is also recognizing eight additional national winners. Each of the winners will receive a new laptop computer (courtesy of Microsoft) and additional prizes for their classes, including Breaking Barriers T-shirts and books written by Sharon Robinson.

“The extraordinary perseverance and inner strength that these children have demonstrated in their young lives is inspiring,” said Sharon Robinson in a statement. “The winners, along with everyone who submitted essays, continue to exemplify the true meaning of the Breaking Barriers program.” Robinson is the author of several widely-praised books for children. In her novel, “The Hero Two Doors Down,” she tells the story of Stephen Satlow, a young Dodgers fan in the 1940s, who befriended the great Jackie Robinson after his family moved to Satlow’s all-Jewish neighborhood.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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Communities
via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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