On May 11th, GOSO’s partner organization, Stand Against Violence East Harlem (SAVE) hosted its second Hoops Against Violence community basketball tournament at the Johnson Community Center in East Harlem. This event brings the community together to raise awareness of gun violence prevention.
Youth of all ages faced off on the basketball court — which is a great way to keep young people active and to help foster camaraderie among community members. Each coach emphasized the importance of showing good sportsmanship to other players, and to just have fun! The fun happened off the court too, as we were joined by DJ Get On Up and the Generation Hip Hop dance group who got everyone on their feet for a dance-off.
Part of the nationwide Cure Violence initiative, SAVE’s mission is to treat violence as an epidemic and prevent its spread by stopping it at the source. Their team of Outreach Workers and Violence Interrupters are embedded in the East Harlem community — SAVE refers many of their clients to GOSO, and vice versa — working to detect and diffuse conflict, treat high-risk individuals, change social norms and create a safer neighborhood. They are a vital resource for the East Harlem community, including many of our guys.
“We’re out here trying to change the community norms and bring the kids in the community together through something positive,” explained SAVE Program Manager Omar Jackson.
“It’s important to care about your community and work hard to keep it strong,” said Councilwoman Diana Ayala, who attended the tournament and spoke to those in attendance. “Many of the men you see in this room today have been friends since they were young kids like you. Now, as adults, they’re giving back to their communities and making a positive impact together. I know I will see many of you doing the same thing when you grow up.”
Enjoy some highlights from the tournament below, and see the whole album on Facebook.