SAN DIEGO – San Diego Padres are hitting a home run when it comes to fighting bullying.
Even before Wednesday’s first pitch, the pre-game event highlighted gender diversity.
“Everyone was created equally, no person should be greater than other,” said student Sarah Crawford.
Crawford and 60 other students representing the 130,000 students of San Diego Unified School District kicked off the event by taking to the field and holding a banner that read, “Victory through Unity.”
“We’re bringing together athletes, parents, fans to all speak out and make their sports community more inclusive,” said Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally.
The local nonprofit teamed up with the Padres and SDUSD to promote gender diversity. The team even signed the Athlete Ally pledge.
“It’s a pledge to make their commitment to making their sports community safe and inclusive,” said Taylor.
The Padres were the first Major League team to sign such a pledge.
“I actually have not been bullied,” said Crawford.
Crawford a student at Clairemont High said she felt students at her school are aware about bullying.
“We just all just joke around with each other, but we know it’s not serious because that’s not cool to do to anyone. No one deserves to be bullied,” said Crawford.
Dilshod Otajdinov attends Hoover High and he said there are issues of acceptance at his school.
“It’s like 50-50. Some of them do know it’s a problem, some of them know it, but they’re just able to ignore it,” said Otajdinov.
“Our message is for everyone, from athletes, to students, to parents. We want to promote more diversity and inclusion, but especially when it comes to LGBT,” said Taylor.
He said Petco Park was the perfect place for this important lesson and what better team than the Padres to teach it.
“It makes us all realize bullying is a serious problem and if we can all work together to stop that, then every school would be a better place,” said Crawford.
“If we can have sports leaders standing up and speaking out then I hope they’re really who people look to and hopefully that will do a lot of good,” said Taylor.