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A  Special & Warm Forum On Clemente & The Retire 21 Campaign.

A Special & Warm Forum On Clemente & The Retire 21 Campaign.

A  Special & Warm Forum On Clemente & The Retire 21 Campaign.

Never Forget!

Bronx, NY - One interesting thing about having the 21 Days of Clemente forums for the last 13 years is that not one is similar to the others. Yesterday’s forum was so different, yet enjoyable that I am still thinking about it today.

By the time I got to Applebee’s there were already a few folks there taking advantage of the “Happy Hour” and yesterdays cold weather made that pit stop for some a necessity. As we began to set up in the area assigned to us more folks began to trickle in and we began to move our table to make room for everyone.

People began ordering and as the food began to arrive more people continued to join us. The one table connected with another, then another and it soon looked like one of those huge Thanksgiving dinners with everyone sitting around a long table with an abundance of food and drinks.

A  Special & Warm Forum On Clemente & The Retire 21 Campaign.That was yesterday’s second 21 Days of Clemente forum, one of the most intimate settings that we have had in the thirteen years that we have been repeating this ritual.

The beauty of such an event is when you see such a diverse group of individuals, from a state Supreme Court justice to a retail worker, from professionals to unemployed, male, female and a broad range of ages.

Many meeting for the first time with one thing in common, they took time out of their hectic schedules to hear and remember Roberto Clemente and this way commemorating a special individual who should not be forgotten during the month of December.

Our special guest, William Soto Jr. spoke about his father a great El Barrio activist that might not have a street, or plaza named after him, but those of us who knew him know that William “Willie” Soto Sr. was a man that always stood up for the rights of many people in his community. Retiring Clemente’s #21 was only one of many issues that I remember Willie Soto organizing around.

Yesterday was also a tribute to him, a senior man that took time out of his schedule to help others and get people like myself to pick up the baton and continue to struggle to retire #21. I also believe that William Soto Sr. was smiling from above knowing that the movement to retire 21, something he initiated was still alive today.

A  Special & Warm Forum On Clemente & The Retire 21 Campaign.

I then spoke about how we started the movement the Retire 21 taking it a step further from the local petition gathering that Mr. William Soto had started. I gave details on how I consulted with three Latinos, Omar Minaya, then General Manager of the NY Mets, Dennis Rivera, President of Local 1199 and Fat Joe (local South Bronx rapper).

All three individuals thought it was a good idea and convinced me to go ahead and thus the Retire 21 Campaign was born and was officially announced in July of 2006 at the All-Star Game Baseball weekend held in Pittsburge, PA.

Next article I will discuss the details that took place in Pittsburge, PA and where the movement is today.

The 21 Days of Clemente is sponsored in part by:

Applebee’s, Bronx Lebanon Hospital, Roberto Clemente State Park, NY Yankees, NY Mets, Retire 21, Bronx Documentary Center, Bronx Borough Presidents Office. L B Graph-X Printing

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports Ventures Inc., the parent company of Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker was an adjunct professor of American History and presently teaches a volunteer course in a local South Bronx High School on Careers in Sports. His primary goal is to make a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community. However, if asked he states that his greatest achievement is his children and grand children.
  • Cesar

    Last night was fun and well worth the inconvenience. ;-)

  • Sandy Rivera

    Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse! 21 Days of Clemente!

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