Roberto Clemente’s family recently visited the mural and school in Orlando, formerly known as Stonewall Jackson Middle, but renamed in honor of the Major League Baseball legend.

Roberto Clemente Jr. and his brother Luis Roberto Clemente saw first-hand the mural that immortalizes historic moments from their legendary father’s baseball career.

The mural depicts moments such as Clemente’s 3,000th hit and winning the National League MVP in 1966.

“Seeing someone who looks like you, elevated in a certain way, will inspire you in the way you behave and also to help others,” reflected Luis Roberto.

The Puerto Rican sports figure, also known for his humanitarian legacy, came to life with the stroke of Neysa Millán’s brush, a local graphic artist who donated her talent to the project.

The family met and took photos with Millan and praised her artwork. They also thanked Earl Lugo, president of the Azalea Park Little League, who led the efforts to donate the mural.

The image that stood out to both brothers was one of them with their famous father, a re-creation of a photo that shows Roberto Clemente with his three sons.

The Clemente family visit was a big moment for Marcos Vilar, president of Alianza for Progress, the group at the forefront of the campaign to change the name of the school to Roberto Clemente emphasizing the need to represent a mostly Hispanic student body.

“It is very exciting to see not only Roberto Clemente’s children, but Roberto III,” Vilar reacted. “I was a kid when Roberto Clemente played baseball. I was a child when Roberto Clemente passed away. Roberto Clemente had a very, very strong impact on me.“

Throughout Clemente’s baseball career, Clemente ventured into the public eye as a black Puerto Rican, who spoke little English with a heavy accent and at times singled out the media for unequal treatment demanding respect for his culture.

Although other schools and stadiums are named after Clemente in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the change in Orlando is significant for the Clemente brothers, whose father fought against racism and discrimination.

“Changing a name from what [Stonewall Jackson] meant to Roberto Clemente is something very, very big and mostly it was a year, 2020, where the transition from the injustices of society has separated society from an Incredible way,“ said Roberto Jr. ”I think it is going to be the beginning of a positive community that is going to be more unified.“

During a private meeting held on Friday, the Clementes thanked leaders, community activists, and school staff for bringing the message of the humanitarian leader to a new generation. The school was renamed last September.

“We are extremely happy, and grateful for the community that took charge of fighting so hard to get the Stonewall Jackson school, as it was known in the past, to be given the name Roberto Clemente,” said Luis Roberto.

Community activists like Father José Rodríguez, vicar of the nearby Iglesia Episcopal Jesús de Nazaret; community advocate Zoraida Vélez Andino, as well as School Board Member Johanna López, who also works for the advocacy group that spearheaded the name change, were present.

“I am proud and I feel extremely committed also as a leader who has fought with the entire community,” said López, the first Puerto Rican elected to the Orange County School Board.

On Thursday, the Clementes participated in a ceremony at Fred Poppe Regional Park in Palm Bay that was also named after Clemente, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973 after his death.

“After 50 years of his death, the person that Roberto Clemente was and the person that you [the people] can [achieve] to be is still being respected and praised,” Luis Roberto said.

City officials signaled Monday that the road’s name would change to Roberto Clemente Road — after a middle school on the road was also renamed from the Confederate General to the Puerto Rican baseball legend.

Commissioners Monday unanimously approved meeting minutes from its Municipal Planning Board meeting from March, which OK’d the name change, setting up the drafting of an ordinance to change the name.

Ordinances need to be approved at two city commission meetings, meaning it will be at least a month until the change is final, though an exact date of those votes wasn’t immediately known.

“It is something very important to us because it is what our family represents in the community. We thank him from the heart for that love and always for that recognition,“ Luis Roberto said. “It is being honored by Puerto Ricans and the community alike. That is the father that keeps us going, that is the fuel we have to continue the work for the legacy.”

By erick