A summer experiment to unify the community by inviting local residents to play softball every Sunday was such a home run, it is receiving a Richmond City Council proclamation tonight.
Soulful Softball Sundays, which was presented by The Sons of Issachar and Men and Women of Purpose, was launched in July at Nichol Park in reaction to an uptick in violence in the city. While the summer has come to a close, the games will start up again in mid-July of next year, according to community advocate and organizer Rodney Alamo Brown.
Soulful Softball Sundays was instantly popular. On some days, the events attracted more than 100 residents. All community members were invited to take part in the games and were also asked to bring a soul food dish to share. The idea was to bring the community together in a positive, fun and active way and to collectively preach peace, love, unity and health. Former Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Norris acted as the commissioner of the games — part of a personal crusade to return baseball to local communities.
The Sunday games drew support from local politicians such as Mayor Tom Butt, Vice Mayor Jael Myrick and Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. They noted the positive impact the weekly event had on Richmond, according to the City Council proclamation, which is set to be presented at tonight’s meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at 440 Civic Center Plaza.
Brown is encouraging community members to attend tonight’s meeting for the scheduled proclamation. He encourages residents to wear their Richmond Proud baseball shirts to the meeting, which were donated to Soulful Softball Sundays by Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager for Chevron Richmond.