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Friday, July 19, 2024

Play for Peace basketball tournament aims to deter gun violence with the love of the game

The first Play for Peace basketball tournament came on the heels of three accidental shootings involving children

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Antoine Murphy, an outreach worker with Indy Peace Fellowship’s gun violence reduction strategy, takes a phone call inside the Municipal Gardens gymnasium.

He just learned that another child was accidentally shot not even seven minutes from the northwest side family center. 

Earlier in the day, another 13-year-old was involved in an accidental shooting.

RELATED: Mayor Hogsett debuts #IChoosePeace Campaign

When he hung up the phone, the reality of the situation sat with him. These incidents are exactly why the Indy Peace Fellowship is hosting this friendly teen basketball tournament.

As part of the Indy Peace Fellowship’s Summer in the City Program, the tournament is a fun way for young people ages 15-19 to come together for something positive.

“With the violence going on in the city, our strategy is to connect teens with something they love while also vetting them and being a mentor to them to show them other ways,” said Murphy.

More than 70 Indy teens took to the Municipal Gardens basketball court Friday.

Nearly a dozen teams are competing in three games for the tournament.

Play for Peace basketball tournament aims to deter gun violence with the love of the game
16-year-old’s Richard Ingram and Dantarance Moore scope out the friendly competition before playing in the tournament. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

Richard Ingram and Dantarance Moore, 16-year-old players on Franklin Central High School’s basketball team, said their coach told them about the tournament and connected them to the program.

“We hear a lot about that violence; it’s bad in some cases. I think it’s good to get kids off the streets to get them in the right crowd so they can get better opportunities,” said Ingram.

Moore is excited to meet new friends at the tournament. He is also confident his basketball skills will lead to his team’s victory over the competing teams.

“I like to focus my energy on the game. I’ll listen to music and talk to myself. It’s always a friendly competition out here,” said Moore.

Ingram wants to be a mechanical engineer when he graduates.

Moore wants to be a basketball player.

Murphy said this is the first of five basketball tournaments for the five-week program and that it is important to foster the teens’ dreams along with giving them the resources they need to cope with and combat the current violence at hand.

“We are still open on Eventbrite. So, if you have people that want to play, or if you just want to watch or be a part, come on out and have a good time,” said Murphy.

The basketball tournament runs every Friday night until July 7.

If you would like to sign up and register, click HERE.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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