We were treated to a great game this morning – the Inaugural Summer City Classic as part of the Hot Stove Cool Music weekend of activities here in Chicago. The Boston Astros took on Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West Little League at UIC’s Les Miller Field. Theo and Paul Epstein were the honorary captains for the game between the two elite 16-17 year-old elite teams. The game was part of a continuing program to celebrate the revival of urban youth baseball and to demonstrate how baseball contributes to positive youth development and can be a key factor in reducing gang violence.
A crisis is quietly unfolding among black and Hispanic males as four-year public high school graduation rates are 55% and 51% respectively. Social and educational indicators such as standardized test scores, justice system involvement and unemployment rates all point to the conclusion that in cities across the U.S., black and Latino boys and men are increasingly falling behind their female, Asian and white peers.
Studies have shown that sports engagement can dramatically reverse these trends, and significantly reduce disparities in educational attainment, helping young men reach their full potential.