To celebrate Black History Month, we are shining a spotlight on a few local folks who take immense pride in their background and heritage.
One of the most iconic figures from the ILLINOISouth region is Jackie Joyner-Kersee - a person seen by many as perhaps the greatest female athlete of all time. The East St. Louis native won six Olympic medals as well as four gold medals at the World Championships. She excelled in the heptathlon and the long jump – breaking record after record. What’s truly amazing is that she did all of it while dealing with asthma.
In her post-Olympic life, Joyner-Kersee hasn’t slowed down much. She now spends much of her time advocating for a list of different charities and initiatives that she feels strongly about. One such initiative provides internet service and laptops to low-income communities across the country – which has helped more than four million people gain access to low-cost internet. Meanwhile, she also started the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation – which has since built the $12 million JJK Center in her hometown of East St. Louis. The venue serves as a community center and provides guidance and after school care for area youth.
There is no question that Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a World-Class athlete, but she’s also proven herself to be a World-Class role model. We thank JJK for EVERYTHING she has done to make not only our region, but our country a better place!