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'Words are not enough:' Rays resource page offers ways to help fight systemic racism

The Rays have been vocal in the fight for racial and social justice.
Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Rays warm up near a Justice. Equality. Now. sign on the videoboard before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game was postponed in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — The Tampa Bay Rays continue to use its platform to further the fight for social justice that's unfolding across the United States.

The team made its first statement on June 2.

"Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, we have engaged in conversations with community leaders and our Diversity and Inclusion Committee," the team wrote on Twitter.

Then came the 2020 Opening Day message regarding Breonna Taylor.

"Today is Opening Day, which means it's a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor."

The Rays followed suit later that night when two coaches, Rodney Linares and Ozzie Timmons, took a knee behind a black ribbon laid along the field as the National Anthem played. Shortstop Willy Adames stood between them putting a hand on their shoulders as they knelt. 

Other displays include boycotting an Aug. 27 game against the Orioles in the name of racial justice and pushing for "Justice. Equality. Now."

On Friday, the Rays and Major League Baseball honored Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier, by dawning his iconic number 42 on the back of every team's jersey.

With that information, it might not come as a shock to some that the Rays have also launched a social justice resource page that looks to help fight systemic racism. 

"This resource guide is an evolving document intended to help educate and spread awareness around what each of us can do in our community. Our goal is to be part of a meaningful, community-wide effort to create positive change," is one of the first messages visitors are met with on the site.

The site offers five resources, including a racial equity grant program, BIPOC businesses in Tampa Bay, educational resources, a list of social justice and community development organizations in Tampa Bay and a feedback section. 

While most categories are straight-forward, here is some further context regarding grants and the feedback sections:

The Racial Equity Grant Fund was established by the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund "to build power within communities that have been historically overlooked and purposefully disadvantaged because of systemic racism," according to the website. 

A total of $100,000 annually is committed to the program that looks to invest in communities most impacted by systemic racism and oppression while supporting anti-racist organizations and leadership. You can learn more here.

As for the feedback section, the Rays said it was put in place so that anyone or any organization can send them an email at socialjustice@raysbaseball.com to share with the team how to better improve its "efforts to re-educate our culture and support the fight to end systemic racism."

It is unclear from the website where and how the Rays will exactly use that feedback to create change. 10 Tampa Bay has reached out to the Rays to see if anything is currently in the works.

If you are interested in checking the resource page out for yourself, you can do so by clicking here

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