By Mike Kinney
In its annual attempt to promote community unification, the annual Soulful Softball Sunday hit another home run yesterday.
Hundreds of community members attended an afternoon of softball games at Nicholl Park in Richmond on Sunday. During the games, participants and fans had the option to dine on free soul food courtesy of Richmond’s CJ BBQ and Fish, and could also tap resources from information booths promoting health, wellness, education and jobs.
The day also featured a raffle and a number of giveaways, including backpacks for kids and Soulful Softball Sunday t-shirts.
“The theme for today’s game is, when a family feuds, nobody wins,” said community advocate Rodney Alamo Brown, who founded the event along with Antoin Cloird. “We’re all family today. North, south, central, parchester, and other areas of Richmond…it’s coming together for another fun, exciting day in the city.”
Former Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Norris served as commissioner of Soulful Softball Sunday, while electrifying Bay Area poet Dont’e Clark performed original hip-hop pieces.
Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia also attended along with a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office to honor the late Landrin Kelly in a special dedication. Kelly established the Terrance Kelly Youth Foundation, an inner-city youth organization formed in remembrance of his son Terrance Kelly, the De La Salle football star who was senselessly gunned down in Richmond in 2004 and whose story was recalled in the major motion picture, When The Game Stands Tall.
The elder Kelly suffered an untimely death earlier this year. On Sunday, he was posthumously given a lifetime achievement award.
“Soulful Softball Sunday is really a way to celebrate our community and to celebrate others who have given a lot of their lives [to community service], some of them unfortunately are no longer with us today,” Gioia said.
The supervisor added that Landrin Kelly “made the best of his son’s death and really changed the lives of so many other people. We’re sad he left us early. We’re going to remember him.”
Also honored for their community service on Sunday were Kathleen Sullivan, Bonnie Jackson, Dewanda Stewart, Stephanie Turner Aldridge, Menbere Aklilu, Pamela Saucer-Bilbo, Tamisha Torres, Diane Becton and Pamela Price.