BRANDYWINE, Md. (WDVM) — Local leaders in Prince George’s County are coming together to find new ways to stop the crime surge. On Friday, the Council Vice Chair joined with two local organizations to host a basketball tournament between first responders and young men in the community.
The event was called “Hoops Up, Crime Down.” The purpose was to build a stronger bond on the streets between law enforcement and young people in the community.
Prince George’s County Council Vice Chair, Sydney Harrison, said, “How do we bridge the gap between our public safety sector and the community? How do we show we are more alike than different?”
The basketball tournament was only part of the event. There was also a conversation started about building trust in the community. Young E Class, a local man who was incarcerated at 15-years-old, spoke before the game started.
He said, “We need to get that communication back because we are our community. We have to take care of ourselves, and they are the first responders for our community, so that communication has to be open every chance.”
E Class said he wishes there were events like this when he was growing up, and thinks it is a great idea for leaders to put together across the DMV.
He said, “Basketball is relatable across the board, so it gives them a chance to lock in on each other. So, when they go back into the community, if something were to happen, they might remember each other off the court and that could lessen any of the energy in the air.”
Our Sons Rise and 4ever United, two local non-profits, got the two teams together for the tournament.
Crystal Hollingsworth, the founder of Our Sons Rise, said, “Tonight isn’t going to be a cure all, but we know it is one step in the right direction of healing our community and giving a semblance of trust.”
Hollingsworth and Lisa Thomas-Price, President and Co-founder of 4ever Unified, agree that the young men will trust their experience on the court and share with their friends, opening communication for what happens off the court.
Thomas-Price said, “This is what it takes. Sometimes it takes one for someone to hold hands, hold hands, hold hands until you have a big circle and we’re just in unity.”
After putting up a tough fight, the first responders team lost to the all stars, 95 to 69.