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Robert Clemente’s Jersey Number Hasn’t Been Retired But Latino Players Don’t Wear It Out Of Respect

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Few players have gained the respect and iconic status in baseball like Roberto Clemente have. A 15-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time World Series champion for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a member of the 3,000-hit club, Clemente has a resume that few can match. Unfortunately, Clemente died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while helping with earthquake relief from his home of Puerto Rico to Nicaragua. A year later he became the first player from Latin America inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. These reasons alone have made Clemente a legend to so many Latino baseball players. It’s also why so many have refused to ever put on his No. 21 ever again out of respect to Clemente.

Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is the only jersey number retired across baseball, but many Latino players want Clemente’s jersey to get the same honor.

As well as being great on the field, Clemente was an even better person off of it. He was a huge advocate for Latino players and fought against Jim Crow laws during his era. That advocacy is not lost on players today.

This is why the No. 21 has become, in many ways, a “sacred number” in baseball, especially to Puerto Rican players. According to Baseball Reference, out of the 235 Puerto Rico-born players who have appeared in an MLB game since Clemente’s death 47 years ago, only 16 have used the No. 21 — and none in the past five years.

While Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired and celebrated every April 15th, many think the same should happen with Clemente. Coincidentally, Clemente debuted just two days after Robinson did on April 17, 1955.

“His body of work speaks volumes, so I do think that, as Jackie Robinson represents greatness in baseball and so much more, so does Roberto Clemente, particularly for Latinos all over the world,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said at an event last year honoring Clemente. “So I think it’s the right time to retire No. 21.”

While it’s been more 40 years since Clemente’s death, many feel now is a great time to honor him.

Latinos have become a growing force in the major leagues and now make up 30 percent of all baseball players. With this growing presence, many feel now is the right time to make Clemente’s jersey retire across baseball.

Despite multiple campaigns and calls for the retirement of the number, there has been little change on the subject. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has resisted the idea of retiring the number. He says the league already honors his legacy with the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a player who demonstrates the values that Clemente displayed in his community.

While the No. 21 may not be officially retired, Latino baseball players have in their own special way.

While the Pirates are the only team to have officially retired Clemente’s jersey number, players have chosen to honor him in a different way: by choosing not to wear it all together.

Luis Clemente, the son of Roberto Clemente, has a different idea on honoring his father. He has called for not only a number retirement but a patch on the jersey or hat to be worn by the previous year’s Clemente Award winner. While he hasn’t had official talks with MLB about the proposal, there’s no doubt it would receive support among many Latino players.

“No Puerto Ricans will use the number because of Roberto Clemente,” Houston Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa, 24, told the New York Times. “The way I see it: Roberto Clemente is a figure for Latinos just like Jackie Robinson was for African-Americans. Clemente didn’t just break barriers but inspired other Latinos to get into baseball.”

READ: Trump Put A Stop To The MLB And Cuban Baseball Federation Deal And Here’s Why It Matters

Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

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Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

badbunnypr / ricardorossello / ricky_martin / Instagram

Governors in the U.S. have tried and failed multiple times to enshrine discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community by passing “religious freedom” bills. At the heart of these bills is the idea that someone’s religion is enough to discriminate against those of different faiths, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Puerto Rico tried to follow the same failed path as Indiana and the backlash was swift and victorious after Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny (Benito Martinez) spoke out against the bill forcing Governor Ricardo Rosselló to backtrack on his bill to discriminate.

In April, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló presented the Puerto Rican House of Representatives a “religious freedom” bill.

Credit: @lgbtpr / Twitter

The bill was months in the making and Gov. Rosselló showed his full support for the bill, House Bill 2069. The bill would have allowed for government employees to openly discriminate against people who went against their religious beliefs.

Ricky Martin spoke up against the measure and called out the Puerto Rican government and their willingness to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

“While the world calls for equality, respect for diversity and the defense of human rights, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing for a measure that goes against all of the above and it encourages division, prejudice, hatred and the lack of respect for individuality,” Martin wrote on his fan website. “It does so under a premise that undermines the constitutional protections against discrimination on the basis of race, sex or belief, and in its place, justifies an irrational protection of the religious convictions of government employees.”

“As a member of the LGBTT community, I join the constituency that affirms that there has never been a willingness among our LGBTT people to allow for the validation or legalization of discrimination against us.”

“House Bill 2069, filed at the request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and promoted by Representative Charbonier, achieve nothing more than opening the doors to hatred towards anyone who doesn’t share the same ideology, who simply belong to the LGBTT community, or who don’t  have the same color skin, amidst many other discriminatory measures.”

“Authentic religious freedom calls for respecting everyone equally.”

Bad Bunny also used his platform to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community in Puerto Rico.

Credit: badbunnypr / Instagram

“While we ‘bad guys’ do out to unite people and try to send a message of respect and tolerance, the leaders of my country work to do the opposite,” he wrote on Instagram. “We cannot take steps backwards, NEVER! @ricardorossello you make excellent coffee, I know that you can also make an excellent decision.”

Calle 13’s Residente joined his Puerto Rican peers to call out the Puerto Rican government’s wishes to strip LGBTQ+ people of their humanity with the law.

These calls against the action came during Pride month when the U.S. is supposed to be celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, which still faces discrimination and violence.

After the outcry, Gov. Rosselló reversed his support for the bill and ordered the Puerto Rican House of Representatives to shelf the bill.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“WE WON! The recent years, Western countries have made significant advances in guaranteeing equal right for the LGBTT community,” Martin tweeted.

Martin celebrated the decision by educating his followers about what the measure would mean for the LGBTQ+ community.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“These advances were threatened recently in Puerto Rico, where the House fo Representatives passed legislation that endangered the progress won in the last decade and risked feeding the division, prejudice, and tensions between the communities.”

He did not sugar coat the true meaning behind the legislation.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“By granting government employees the power to act in accordance with their religious convictions, personal values, and principles, this regressive legislation would have sanctioned the practice of institutional discrimination on the part of those who committed themselves to a life in public service.”

Congratulations, Ricky!

Credit: ricky_martin / Instagram

It just goes to show that enough public outcry can make politicians listen to the majority instead of the vocal minority.

READ: After Delay Caused By Border Wall And Trump’s Feud with Puerto Rico, Congress Finally Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Package

Here’s How A Goth Makeup Company Is Helping Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Economy After Hurricane Maria

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Here’s How A Goth Makeup Company Is Helping Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Economy After Hurricane Maria

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, businesses all over the island were devastated by the destruction. Some were able to reopen months, to a year later, while others had to close for good. While more established businesses such as resorts and restaurants had backing to get back on their feet, it was the independent companies that struggled to reopen. Necromancy Cosmetica, however, is thriving after resuming business as usual.

Puerto Rico-based Necromancy Cosmetica a gothic makeup company was closed for four months after Hurricane Maria.

Instagram/@necromancycosmetica

In an interview with Remezcla, Necromancy Cosmetica owners Desiree Rodríguez and Salvador Pérez talked about their joint venture which has a large social media following. The couple launched the brand four years ago but they said they almost had to shut down their store after the hurricane.

“The store was full of mold. It was total chaos,” Rodríguez told the publication. She adds that they had “like two free days. We got to work before we even knew how our families were doing. My family is from the west side of the island, and I didn’t hear from them for almost three weeks.”

The couple said that they had help locally, and abroad during the rebuilding process. They were able to sell their product online while they continued to work on reopening.

Instagram/@hex_des

Like many local businesses after the hurricane, Necromancy Cosmetica has survived because of loyal and proud Puerto Rican customers. While many people might think of colorful and tropical scenes when they think of Puerto Rico but the goth community needs representation. Just because you live on an island doesn’t mean you will look like you live on an island.

Puerto Rico’s economy is struggling as the island continues to recover from a storm that devastated everything and everyone. As the Puerto Rican economy tries to build up, it is the local stores like Necromancy Cosmetica that are giving the island the support it needs. The company might not be donating money to the recovery effort but pumping their money into the local economy creating a stream of tax revenue that the government relies on.

The owners take pride that their makeup line is vegan and cruelty-free.

Instagram/@necromancycosmetica

If you need more reason to check out the company, how about their stance for animals?

“These and all other Necromancy Cosmetica brand lipsticks are made with 100% vegan materials that have never been tested on animals, that means you can rest easy knowing that your wicked lips will always be on the up-and-up if you decide to join the Necromancy cult,” reads the Necromancy Cosmetica website. “Des and Zal work hard from their crypt in Puerto Rico to fulfill all the orders themselves and have high hopes for their independently owned, produced, and distributed non-liquid lipsticks. So take a look at their witchy works and get inspired.”

Necromancy Cosmetica is located at 59 Calle Arzuaga Local #3 Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Click here for more information on the products.

READ: Here Are 13 Latino Innovators That Prove Latinos Can Do Anything They Put Their Minds To

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