The Boston Red Sox and the Boston Area Church League, a non-profit that gives children in need the opportunity to play baseball on city fields with instruction and guidance from local pastors and law enforcement officials, will honor Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree during a luncheon on Friday, August 26, at the Back Bay Hilton. Later that same evening, Professor Ogletree will be celebrated at Fenway Park during a special pregame ceremony before the 7:10 p.m. Red Sox-Royals game.
During the luncheon, Professor Ogletree will be presented with the Legacy Award for Civil and Human Rights by the Boston Area Church League, which was created in partnership with the Red Sox and the City of Boston in 2002.
"When John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino took over the club in 2002, they knew they were taking over a franchise with a history that was marred with issues when it came to race relations, and they wanted to change that," said Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. "Professor Ogletree helped guide the club from the beginning of our outreach with the community, and has been an advocate and a friend from day one. He has remained a strong voice and leader for civil rights as the dialogue on this important issue continues today. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this honor and tribute."
In addition to Professor Ogletree, seven other community leaders will be honored at the August 26 luncheon and recognized during the pregame ceremony at the ballpark, including Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash; Director of Boston Parks and Recreation Paul McCaffrey; Dorchester YMCA Executive Director Andrea Baez; Chair of the Multicultural Committee for the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau Carole Copeland Thomas; Vice President of Island Lighting and Power Systems, Inc. Jarrod O'Neal; Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office For Refugees & Immigrants Mary Truong; and Boston Police Officer Cynthia Brewington.
Since its inception, the Boston Area Church League has held an annual Community Fellowship Luncheon that unites the community through baseball while celebrating accomplishments of those who help foster goodwill between law enforcement, lay leaders, and other citizens.
The Boston Area Church League was established on August 8, 2002, thanks in large part to the leadership of Frank Jordan, an advisor to the Red Sox and a former President of the California Chapter of the NAACP. Jordan's vision for the program resulted in children playing Saturday doubleheaders with pastors as coaches, police officers as umpires, and district attorneys as volunteers in order for them to meet law enforcement officials through baseball, rather than in a courtroom. The league began play two days after its creation on August 10, 2002, and has operated successfully ever since. Each September, the participants are the guests of the Red Sox at a game at Fenway Park.