The New York Yankees today announced details regarding a celebration of New York’s Legacy of Pride, which will take place on Friday, June 18, at Yankee Stadium, prior to the 7:05 p.m. Yankees-Athletics game. The Yankees will also shine a spotlight on the 2021 recipients of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative, which on a yearly basis awards $50,000 worth of scholarships through five $10,000 college scholarships to one graduating high school senior from each of the five boroughs of New York City.
First awarded in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising, the annual scholarship grants celebrate student leaders who have demonstrated academic achievement, a commitment to equality and impactful support for the LGBTQ community. The awards are intended to provide resources to launch their educational and career goals.
The implementation of the Yankees-Stonewall Initiative aligns directly within the construct of the Yankees’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which identifies, engages and addresses issues related to equality, racial justice and inclusivity. The nomination process is initiated by the New York City Department of Education with each public high school able to submit one graduating senior for consideration. The selection process is conducted by the Department of Education in partnership with input from representatives from the Yankees, Stonewall Inn, New York City Mayor’s Office, Major League Baseball, Pride Live and Athlete Ally.
As part of the festivities, the recipients of the 2021 Yankees-Stonewall scholarships will be recognized in a ceremony in Monument Park. The acknowledgement will take place in front of the permanent plaque that was dedicated in 2019 to commemorate the inclusive spirit of Yankee Stadium and the 50**th** Anniversary of the events at the Stonewall Inn that sparked the modern LGBTQ Movement.
The 2021 Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship recipients are:
· Viviana “V” Sakura Benzan of the Bronx, they/them, Manhattan Center for Science and Math, will attend The Savannah College of Art and Design
· Christine Cabusay of Staten Island, she/her/hers, Stuyvesant High School, will attend Tulane University
· Ryan Heesemann of Queens, he/him/his, John Adams High School, will attend Queens College (CUNY)
· Skye Mayo of Manhattan, she/her/hers, NYC Museum School, will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
· Daniil Tagaev of Brooklyn, he/him/his, Brooklyn Studio Secondary School, will attend Hunter College
The students learned about the honor via Zoom on June 4, with congratulations provided by Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman; Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate/Community Relations Brian Smith; Yankees Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman; Stonewall Inn Co-Owner & Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative CEO Stacy Lentz; New York City Department of Education Special Assistant to the Chancellor Juan Rosales; and New York City Department of Education Manager of LGBTQ Programs Eric Vaughan. Please find highlights of their conversation at this link:
Additionally, earlier today, Billy Bean, Major League Baseball Vice President & Special Assistant to the Commissioner took part in a Zoom discussion with the 2021 Yankees-Stonewall scholars to offer his insight and encouragement. As a senior advisor to Commissioner Rob Manfred, Bean’s role focuses on player education, LGBTQ inclusion and social justice initiatives. Among his responsibilities, Bean works with MLB’s 30 clubs to advance equality for all players, coaches, managers, umpires, employees and stakeholders throughout baseball.
“These young leaders represent the future of the LGBTQ community, and they deserve every opportunity to pursue both their personal aspirations and their dreams to create a more inclusive world,” said Cashman. “The Yankees’ respect for the LGBTQ community is deep and enduring, and our Yankee Stadium home will always be a place of tolerance and acceptance. We look forward to recognizing the contributions of LGBTQ individuals for years to come and growing the ranks of future Yankees-Stonewall scholars, whose impact — even at their young age — cannot be understated."
“There is no better way to celebrate Pride Month than by honoring five incredible young people for their contributions to their school communities and their commitment to creating inclusive spaces for LGBTQ youth,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “I am deeply grateful to the New York Yankees and the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative for spending the time to get to know these students and for providing them with scholarships that set them up for bright futures as they continue fighting for justice in every part of their lives.”
“It has been such a privilege to support the Yankees Stonewall Scholarship Initiative,” said Bean. “The Yankees are providing this amazing group of young adults an opportunity to continue their education and realize their potential. I’m truly inspired by the courage and talent of today’s recipients. They are tomorrow’s influencers, and I can’t wait to see it.”
“We are honored to be a part of the selection committee and to announce the winners of this year’s scholarship program,” said Kurt Kelly, Co-Owner of The Stonewall Inn. “We can’t thank the Yankees enough for their generosity toward the LGBTQ+ community.”
“These inspiring students are the future leaders of our community, and they are already making such an impact,” said Lentz. “We can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”
Ceremonies on June 18 will begin in Monument Park at approximately 6:45 p.m.
Those participating in the Monument Park ceremony include: Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate/Community Relations Brian Smith; Yankees Director of Corporate/Community Relations Kenny Leandry; Major League Baseball Vice President & Special Assistant to the Commissioner Billy Bean; Stonewall Inn Co-Owner and Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative CEO Stacy Lentz; Stonewall Inn Co-Owner & Co-Founder of The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative Kurt Kelly; Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Meisha Porter; New York City Department of Education Manager of LGBTQ Programs Eric Vaughan; and Pride Live Founder Diana Rodriguez. Additionally, four of the five Yankees-Stonewall scholars will be on hand (Viviana “V” Sakura Benzan, Christine Cabusay, Ryan Heesemann and Daniil Tagaev).
The evening’s virtual national anthem will be sung by Adam Bastien & Jerome Bell of the musical duo OneUp, who were featured on the fall 2018 season of The Voice.