Earlier this afternoon, the Jackie Robinson West All Stars -- the U.S. champions in this year's Little League World Series -- stopped by the White House for a visit with the President and the First Lady.
Hailing mainly from the South Side of Chicago, Jackie Robinson West captured the world's attention this summer on their extraordinary run through the Little League World Series. Along with being the first Chicago-area team to make it to the Little League World Series in 31 years, Jackie Robinson West also made history as the first all-black team to win the U.S. title.
Before the world championship game against South Korea, the President tweeted that "we're all so proud" of the team. Even though South Korea won the final game 8-4, Jackie Robinson West had already secured a special place in the hearts of Americans across the country.
The young players' victorious run held even more meaning, however, for the city that they came from. Chicago has grabbed headlines nationwide for its increased gun violence and high murder rate, and many of the Jackie Robinson West players come from neighborhoods suffering from this violence as well as disproportionate levels of poverty. But the team's run this summer helped provide a respite from some of the city's troubles, with the players' hard work and upstanding example ultimately bringing hope, inspiration, and unity to their community.