HOUSTON – Sister 2 Sistah co-founders Rebecca Briscoe and Nakia Cooper are on a mission to bring the love of baseball back to African American households. It is a personal mission, after the two working mothers saw a lack of diversity on the fields and in the stands at Major League Baseball games.
To them, the “why” is not as important as the “what’s next.” In the end, for Briscoe and Cooper, who are both professionals certified in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, “representation matters.”
Sister 2 Sistah co-founders sat down with the KPRC 2 + team to explain their mission. Watch full interview in the video player above.
“I remember vividly in 2014, I was covering a story at Academy Sports and Outdoors on the Southwest Freeway where Texas rapper Bun B was the center of a meet-and-greet and autograph signing for an Astros hat made in his honor,” Cooper said. “The line was wrapped outside the store and down the sidewalk and I noticed there were almost no African American fans present. It was then that I realized that something had to be done, but I wasn’t a ‘sports person,’ so I didn’t exactly know how to go about doing it.”
Cooper also shared that an Astros game was the last major outing she and her children had with their ailing father, who died during the pandemic. At that game as well, there was noticeably less African Americans present.
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An idea began to take shape.
Briscoe and Cooper had major success spearheading two successful “Holiday Hoopla” community events for the Dwight D. and Sheryl H. Howard Foundation, where dozens of kids in underserved communities had the opportunity to meet and bowl with then- Houston Rockets sensation Dwight Howard, and they wanted to do something similar for children with baseball, but there was no prominent figure in Houston who “looked like them” that was accessible and willing to join the cause at that time.
Timing is everything and a true champion joined the team, nonother than legendary manager Dusty Baker, who listened and said it was his honor to help.
The only issue was, the world was still trying to recover from the pandemic and Baker - unbeknownst to all - was taking the ‘Stros to a whole new level of greatness with the World Series. After nearly two years of phone calls and texts, things were back on track and Baker was able to find a date that would work where he could “meet the kids” and support the mission of Sister 2 Sistah.
So, what is that mission? Sending thousands of children to see the ‘Stros over the summer!
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is an initiative to expose more African American youth to the sport of baseball, which once was a major focus in the Black community, primarily during the days of the Negro Leagues. Today, however, one scan of the crowd at baseball games, it is clear to see the lack of African American presence at ballparks across the country. Baseball, while a very lucrative career, has taken a back seat for many to basketball and football. It’s time to bring the knowledge and love back.
“Providing this firsthand exposure is pivotal,” Briscoe said. “If today’s youth can see it, they can achieve it. This event can create the next round of African American managers, statisticians, general managers, and possibly MLB owners.”
The goal of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is to take groups of minority children, particularly from underserved communities, to EACH of the HOME GAMES during their summer vacation (from mid-June to end of August) at Minute Maid Park to see the Astros play. While supporting Baker and the ‘Stros, the children are exposed to the sport that teaches honor, integrity, responsibility, teamwork with the mantra of “slay your own demons, then slay dragons” with no excuses.
Select kids will get to high-five and meet Dusty at a launch event, held in his honor, at Trez Bistro & Wine Bar, located at 920 Studemont, Ste. 150, Houston, TX 77007.
The date and time of the event will be given to the chosen attendees.
Sister 2 Sistah has launched a gofundme to help send families to the game. Funds raised will aid in purchasing and providing tickets to the game, ballpark food and transportation. To inquire about corporate sponsorship, please email email@example.com.
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