The Cubs' first trip to the World Series in 71 years includes a bit of unexpected history.

Dexter Fowler to be the first black man to play a World Series game as a member of the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs will face off against Cleveland on Tuesday, Oct.  25, 2016, and in doing so are set to make history in a way that sports fans and casual observers alike can appreciate.

It's been a long time since the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series — 71 years, to be exact. For that reason alone, the team's 2016 season is one for the history books. The Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 to advance to their first World Series since the 1945 season.

But there's another reason to celebrate their victory, one that has to do with just how much has changed in the past 71 years.


The Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series on Oct. 22, 2016. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

The last time the Cubs played in the World Series, baseball was still two years away from Jackie Robinson's history-making Major League Baseball debut.

A legend, a hero, and a true trailblazer, Robinson became the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. That year, Robinson was named Rookie of the Year; two seasons later, he was named National League MVP; in 1955, he won his one and only World Series championship.

Robinson is seen here in a 1951 photograph. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

On Oct. 25, Cubs center fielder and lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler will step into the batters' box for the first pitch of the 2016 World Series.

Fowler, who is black, will not only be the first member of the Cubs to step up to the plate in the team's first World Series appearance in 71 years, but he will be the first black man to do so in a Cubs uniform.

Fowler takes batting practice before a 2015 game. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images.

Sportswriter Rany Jazayerli was one of the first people to have made the connection, posting the observation to his Twitter account:

The tweet caught Fowler's attention. Clearly, this bit of history, as delayed as it may be, means a lot to him.

Pretty cool, right? In the past, Fowler has talked about Jackie Robinson's achievements, highlighting how Robinson's work and sacrifice helped pave the way for his own success in MLB.

Fowler hits a home run during a 2015 game against the San Francisco Giants. GIF from MLB/YouTube.

"I don't think God could have picked a better person [than Jackie Robinson] to do it," Fowler said in an interview a few years back. "It definitely takes a strong individual to do that."

In sports and in life, we've made a lot of progress over the past 71 years. There's still a long way to go.

In 1953, Ernie Banks became the first black athlete to play for the Cubs. While he went on to have a Hall of Fame career, he never made it to the World Series, and it ate him up inside.

"Sometimes I’m at a Hall of Fame reunion and I’ll look around and see I’m the only one in the room who never played in a World Series," said Banks in an interview with Ron Rapoport. "I’ve had nightmares about it. Once I even talked to a psychiatrist. There wasn’t much he could say, just that I’d done the best I could and it wasn’t meant to be."

Banks died in January 2015. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Sadly, Banks passed away in January 2015 without seeing his beloved Cubs do what he tried to accomplish during his own career. Still, it's the progress and work of players like him and like Robinson that got us to where we are today in terms of racial equality in sports, and that might be more important than any championship ring.

Fowler makes a diving catch during the ninth inning of a 2016 playoff game. GIF from MLB/YouTube.

There's still work to be done, however. So long as inequality in its many forms exists — whether on the basis of race, gender, religion, class, country of origin, or anything else — there's work to be done, and whether you're a Jackie Robinson, an Ernie Banks, or a Dexter Fowler, you can help bring about positive change in the world through bravery and empathy for others. It's about much, much more than sports; it's about life.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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