A former Major League Baseball player from Chatham-Kent, and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, is speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Fergie Jenkins posted a passionate statement on social media on Thursday, June 4, 2020.
“My family arrived in Canada by way of the Underground Railroad to escape the abuse from slave owners in America,” Jenkins said.
“In Canada, I never really noticed racism. I am sure it was there (because it is everywhere) but I didn’t see it. Then, I made the minor leagues and got to witness it firsthand: not being able to get off bus to get food, so the white players had to bring us food, not being able to stay in the same hotel as the white players, being booed when you came out on the field, and being called the N word.”
Jenkins added: “Did it bother me? YES, but dad always said, “just worry about yourself.” That was over 50 years ago! Have things changed?”
Jenkins said change has happened for some people who “fought and struggled” to make a better life for themselves.
“But even to this day, minorities are pulled over for no other reason than the color of their skin,” Jenkins said.
“When will it stop? It’s been going on for years. When do we think that Americans and people of the world will understand?”
Jenkins said he hopes change is starting.
“That enough people have seen the outrageous and unjust treatment that minorities still receive to this day,” he said.
“IT MUST stop… but will it? I for one hope so – because the lives of these young black people matter! Please give them a chance to be better and the world will be better from that. MAKE THE WORLD EQUAL FOR ONCE! Because it has never been equal for our minorities.”
Jenkins played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox during his Major League Baseball career.
Jenkins was the first Canadian to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
He was born and raised in Chatham.