by: Leslie Giscombe
African American Entrepreneurs Association
The African American Entrepreneurs Association is honored to present the Barrier Breakers Series, in partnership with the Daytona Tortugas, as part of the Minor League Baseball “The Nine” Initiative, a community inclusion initiative that will be hosted by the Daytona Tortugas at the historical Jackie Robinson Ballpark, located at 105 E. Orange Ave.
This will be a four-night series dedicated to Barrier Breakers throughout the Tortugas home season on April 9, June 10, July 8 and Aug. 12. These nights will honor the milestones, individuals and community venues that have paved the way for today’s and tomorrow's athletes, business owners and community leaders. The first night of the Barrier Breakers Series will be hosted April 9 at 7:05 p.m. against the St. Lucie Mets.
“I feel honored to follow the footsteps of the Great Jackie Robinson and other black history makers that have paved the way for the African American and minority communities through partnerships that support equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said Leslie Giscombe, founder and CEO at African American Entrepreneurs Association. This news comes in the wake of the corporate partnership between The Daytona Tortugas and the AAEA.
"We are extremely excited to honor the barrier breakers who will be spotlighted in this series for their contributions to our sport, community and society," Tortugas General Manager Jim Jaworski said. "We cannot thank the African American Entrepreneurs Association enough for their partnership in this groundbreaking new initiative."
This community partnership between the AAEA and the Daytona Tortugas is an exciting opportunity to commemorate and honor, while enjoying fun entertainment and celebrating the trailblazers that have persevered in following their dreams before us.
- April 9: The first night of the Barrier Breakers Series will be hosted April 9 at 7:05 p.m. against the St. Lucie Mets. The Daytona Tortugas will feature Local Negro Leagues teams and players with a commemorative focus and the AAEA will host The African-American Entrepreneurs Showcase in the concessions area. The Showcase will feature an assortment of 12 locally owned African-American businesses and community leaders. The community is invited to join in and fully enjoy all these evenings will have to offer.
- June 10: The second night of The Barrier Breakers Series will be hosted June 10 at 7:05 p.m. against the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. The evening honoree will be Johnny Wright, a pitcher who broke professional baseball’s color barrier with Jackie Robinson in 1946 right here in Daytona Beach.
- July 8: The third night of The Barrier Breakers Series will be hosted July 8 at 7:05 p.m. against the St. Lucie Mets. On this evening, Mary McLeod Bethune, one of the most celebrated African American figures as an influencer, educator, civil rights activist, and advocate for women’s equality for more than three decades will be the focus of the night. She also founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls, later merged with the Cookman Institute of Jacksonville to become known as Bethune-Cookman University, located 640 Dr Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. She is attributed with helping make it possible for Robinson and Wright to make history in Daytona Beach.
- Aug. 12: The fourth night of The Barrier Breakers Series will be hosted Aug. 12 at 7:05 p.m. against the Lakeland Flying Tigers.The evening will focus on the community jewel, Kelly Field. This venue is where Robinson and Wright trained, as well as served as a social hub of the community.
To learn more about the AAEA and the Barrier Breakers Series, visit aaeassociation.org. More information can be found on Facebook Events AAEA business page, https://fb.me/e/1nGlEvkQ6. For additional opportunities to participate in the future events, call 386-234-2014.