Chicago Essay Winner Honored by Jackie Robinson's Daughter

Arsema Tesfai received laptops for her and her teacher

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    Arsema Tesfai

    The seventh-grade winner of Major League Baseball’s “Breaking Barriers” essay contest was honored by Jackie Robinson’s daughter at school Monday.

    Arsema Tesfai’s essay, "Just Another Black Boy," talks about her struggles overcoming the unsolved murder of her brother, Filmon, who was shot before starting his first year at the University of Illinois on scholarship in 2003.

    Emigrants from the State of Eritrea, a small African country north of Ethiopia, Tesfai said her family has encountered several experiences with racism and wanted to bring attention to the issue.

    "Even though Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, racism still exists. Sometimes when I walk in an elevator with my dad, women move to the corner and clutch their purses," she wrote in her essay.

    Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter, started the contest 17 years ago in honor of her father, the first African American baseball player. Almost 19,000 essays were submitted from around the U.S this year.

    In addition to first place honors, Tesfai received laptops for her and her teacher at St. Thomas of Canterbury.