Priest and activist Michael Pfledger and NBA great Isiah Thomas organized a basketball tournament this weekend, bringing together several rival South Side, Chicago gangs.
The aim of the event was to promote peace amongst the Windy City’s youth.
Chicago has seen its murder rate rise to horrific levels throughout 2012.
“You walk in that gym and you see the passion, the excitement, you see the smiles on kids [faces],” Fr. Pfleger told Chicago’s WMAQ-TV. “You see kids who used to shoot each other playing ball with each other…you see Joakim [Noah] and [Derrick Rose]…you tell me anything’s wrong about this? I’m in heaven right now.”
In addition to some of the Bulls’ star players, other famous ball players in attendance included Antoine Walker, Quentin Richardson and Taj Gibson. Isiah Thomas, who grew up on the West Side of the city, said the tournament can essentially be a wake-up call for many young men.
“These kids know that they’re valued, they know that we love them,” Thomas told WMAQ. “And we’re hoping that out of this [tournament], there can be some type of peace where they stop killing each other and really understand how important they are to all of us.”
Check out a news report on this amazing event below:
What a wonderful event!
What else can we do to promote peace on the streets of Chicago?
Sound off below!