After a Jackie Robinson Statue Was Stolen, a Town is Uniting to Support a Local Baseball League
The Wichita, Kansas community and strangers from around the world are coming together to replace a stolen statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.
Robinson, known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier at the age of 28, has been a symbol of courage and change in the sport. However, a shocking incident last week was captured on security cameras as thieves desecrating his statue. The criminals cut the statue at the ankles, removed it and later set it on fire, leaving behind only the feet. The statue was not just any sculpture; it was a labor of love, handcrafted over two years by artist John Parsons for League 42, a local foundation dedicated to providing affordable baseball and educational opportunities to 600 children.
The crime made international headlines. The theft was featured on major news outlets from ABC to CNN to The Athletic, but the story takes an uplifting turn beyond the initial media headlines. In the aftermath, Jaclyn Evans, an Executive Assistant for League 42, spearheaded a movement to rebuild what was lost. Understanding the profound significance of Jackie Robinson to the league and community, Evans initiated a GoFundMe campaign, appealing for support to replace the statue. In a remarkable response, hundreds of donors, many whom have never visited Wichita, contributed to the cause.
The GoFundMe campaign is a testament to the power of community and goodwill, raising over $140,000 in just three days. While headlines initially reflected a disturbing act of vandalism, the story has evolved into a heartwarming act of strength and generosity. In this case, all it took was three days for random strangers to come together and say hate won't win.