This year has presented unprecedented challenges and heartbreak to many of our Little League® communities. In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, millions have come together to support Black Lives Matter. Little League International stands with them. There is no place for racism and hate in this world and that certainly includes on Little League fields in every community.
Little League International believes in the power of youth baseball and softball to build stronger individuals and communities. We cannot live this mission by staying silent during this tumultuous time and in the wake of the meaningful and peaceful protests, of unconscionable police brutality, happening on the streets in countless communities. These are our communities, where Little League welcomes families and kids to feel safe, connected, and included. Anything less is unacceptable.
The children in our program are at a most impressionable stage of their lives. The lessons we teach and the difficult conversations that our parents, guardians, caretakers, coaches, and volunteers have with our players go beyond wins and losses or strikeouts and errors. Our children become what we teach them to be. They learn from us. None are born to hate. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us to have the meaningful and important conversations about what it means to respect others and that there is no place in the world for hate.
Little League is and will always be a place where all races, genders, backgrounds, and ethnicities come together and are welcomed to play ball and grow together. We are one team, one Little League. We expect all our teams and volunteers to demonstrate the utmost level of sportsmanship. At the core of sportsmanship is respect and showing that respect regardless of what team you play for, the community you call home, or the color of your skin.
As we work together to recover, we believe the power of community is what will help us come together and that your league will be a safe, positive place to gather and promote a hate-free culture. We are asking every Little League program to make a renewed commitment to make our communities a better place for all and show the children we serve that there is no tolerance for hate. Remember, they learn from us.
On behalf of the Little League International Board of Directors and professional staff, thank you for your dedication and leadership, as we embrace the challenges many of our Little League communities face.
We stand with the African American members of our Little League family and are here to support you, your families, your leagues, and your communities.
Hugh E. Tanner
Little League International Board of Directors