Last Updated on June 5, 2022 by BVN

S. E. Williams |

On Friday, June 10, 2022, the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce and Green Smilez Loving Care Foundation are teaming with San Bernardino’s 66ERS minor league baseball team  to present a combined community meet and greet, recognition ceremony and  special tribute the Negro Baseball League in honor of its 102nd anniversary. 

The Inland Empire 66ERS of San Bernardino are a Minor League Baseball team of the California League and the Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.  

The event will also  include a recognition ceremony of Black Excellence honoring the achievements of individuals and their businesses. The celebration is being hosted at the San Manuel Stadium located at  280 S. E Street, San Bernardino, CA beginning at 5:30pm. Admission is $18.

The Black Chamber of Commerce of Riverside County and the Green Smilez Loving Care Foundation are  teaming up with the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino to present a community meet-and-greet combined with a recognition ceremony and tribute to the National Negro Baseball League (source: riversidecountybcc.org | greensmilezlcf.com)

The importance of this celebration

The occasion provides an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the talents and achievements of Blacks who played the game of professional baseball during the years of segregation. Their organized efforts became a successful business enterprise generating millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs in the Black community.

The Negro National League and its athletes were an inspiring and  grand success. They beat the odds, and represented the very best of the sport. 

The narrative of Blacks  playing professional baseball are an important part of sports history. An enterprise of Black ownership launched and funded the Negro National League and  Black baseball became known for showcasing a breakthrough style of speed, daring play and showmanship.

In August 1945, Jackie Robinson shook the baseball world when it was announced he would break major  league’s baseball color barrier by becoming a member of the all white Brooklyn Dodgers’ baseball team. The contract was officially signed October 23, 1945. 

After Robinson broke the color barrier other major league teams followed suit and eventually, support for the Negro American League stretched thin. 

In 2020, the Negro Nation League’s centennial anniversary, the accomplishments of its players  were–at last–officially combined in the record book along with the accomplishments of  all other major league players. 

In August 1945, Jackie Robinson shook the baseball world when it was announced he would break the major league’s baseball color barrier by signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. (source: brittanica.com)

Inspiring and supporting young people

Baseball enables  young people to find a common purpose in the ball parks and in stadiums. Kids who play baseball in the community spend this time rising above their circumstances. It is important that  Inland Empire youth, and many who grow up in challenging neighborhoods with limited opportunities, be exposed to positive events like the 66ers Negro League tribute to honor the legacy of their ancestors and be empowered by the organizations that bring them resources.  

Public recognition and highlighting the achievements of local businesses and the people who serve, motivate, encourage, and inspire, is another important element of this event as it is equally important for Black youth and others to see role models of professional success in the community. 

There will also be a fireworks display preceding the baseball game. This will be a family fun event where all are welcome. 

Follow this link and purchase your tickets today.

Black Chamber of Commerce of Riverside County

The Black Chamber of Commerce of Riverside County’s mission is to empower and inspire minority entrepreneurs in their indigenous communities to be successful, and to partner with like-minded individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this mission. The Chamber believes the key to empowering and inspiring  minority communities and businesses lies in cooperation and collaboration with the industries of tomorrow. To learn more about the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce visit www.riversidecountybcc.org .

Green Smilez Loving Care Foundation

The mission of the Green Smilez Loving Care Foundation is to be a vessel to uplift and empowerment and to shift the atmosphere by living in purpose. Created by LK Smilez and Jacquetta Green, the Green Smilez Care Foundation is  focused on community service and creating opportunities for everyone to be the best version of themselves.

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Stephanie has received awards for her investigative reporting and for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.