Seattle Mariners celebrate 10th annual African-American Heritage Night

September 13 pregame ceremony will highlight notable community members

September 10th, 2019

The Seattle Mariners are celebrating the contributions of African-Americans to the Northwest community on Friday, September 13, during a pregame ceremony before the Mariners take on the Chicago White Sox (7:10pm) at T-Mobile Park.

This is the 10th Annual Seattle Mariners African-American Heritage Night, and it coincides with another notable anniversary which will be acknowledged during a pregame ceremony – 400 Years of African-American History, which commemorates the arrival in August 1619 of the first enslaved Africans at Point Comfort in the English colony of Virginia.

In addition to the pregame ceremony, there will be a “Breaking Barriers” panel discussion moderated by Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims with former Mariners Mike Cameron and Brian Hunter as well as current Mariners players of African-American heritage from 4:30-6:15pm in the Ellis Pavilion.

Mariners African-American Heritage Night Honorees

During a pregame ceremony, the Mariners will recognize notable members of the Seattle community including:

Clarence Acox -- A nationally acclaimed music educator, director and musician, Mr. Acox has spent his career inspiring young musicians, including those from underrepresented communities, to achieve excellence and encouraged many to go on to professional careers. Since 1979, he built Garfield High School’s jazz band program into a perennial powerhouse at national competitions. Among his many honors are the Mayor’s Arts Award (2007), Earshot Jazz Musician of the Year (1991), Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame (1994), and Outstanding Teacher (Down Beat Magazine and Seattle Music Educators Association). In 2016, Mr. Acox received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts. He recently announced his retirement as Garfield High School Jazz Band Director, a position he held for over 40-years.

Carmen Best, Seattle Police Chief – A native of Tacoma, Chief Best last year became the first African-American woman to lead the Seattle Police Department. A 26-year veteran of the department, Best served at nearly every level, rising through the ranks from patrol officer to command staff. She has held command positions in community outreach as well as Patrol Operations, Investigations, and Special Operations Bureaus. Prior to joining SPD, Best served three years in the U.S. Army. She received a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University. This year, Best received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Vision from the Mountaintop Award from Urban Impact.

Lt. Col. Kimberly Scott Ford – A 1990 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Scott Ford spent 19 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve attaining the rank of Lt. Col. As a member of the 446th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Scott Ford flew over 6,000 hours in C-17 Globemaster and KC-135 Stratotanker transports in support of combat operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2001, Scott has served as a 737 First Officer for Alaska Airlines, where she regularly participates in recruiting events to encourage young women and underrepresented youth to pursue careers in aerospace.

Leslie Walker-Harding, MD – For over 25-years, Dr. Walker-Harding has been dedicated to the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. She is the Ford/Morgan Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for the University of Washington. She is also Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Walker-Harding is noted for research on substance abuse prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, keeping kids safe on social media, and her advocacy for the emotional and physical health and well-being of young people. She is a graduate of Stanford University and University of Illinois Medical School.