Rev. Anthony Hendrickson is using basketball to promote safer communities against gang violence.
Hendrickson, head of the Lead By Example Reverse The Trend non-profit group, will hold the Jessica White Safer Community tournament on Friday, July 15 from noon to 4 p.m.
White, a 29-year old mother of three, was fatally shot in March during a shooting exchange linked to gang violence.
White was shielding her children as bullets flew across a park at 700 Westchester Avenue.
According to Hendrickson, the tournament was created to promote public safety and youth development.
“The reason we did it is because we don’t want to lose another parent,” he said.
“Jessica White should not have lost her life protecting her children inside a park and playground,” he added.
Hendrickson said he wants to send a message to gang members that this is not a place for gang activity.
As part of the tournament, which will take place at 721 Tinton Avenue, police officers in the 40th Precinct will play against kids from the community.
Originally, the tournament was supposed to happen on July 9.
However, due to the string of violence that occurred in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, officers were stationed at other locations around the city during protests.
Instead of having the tournament, the kids held a scrimmage on July 9 to get ready for the real thing.
Hendrickson also took the time to provide a short word to the kids about the recent string of violence.
He explained that not all officers are bad despite a few rogue officers and what happened over the weekend were tragedies.
He added that the children should not act out in violence in response to the recent tragedies.
Hendrickson wants to make sure there is a very strong focus on what happened to Jessica White and the steps the community is taking to move forward.
The pastor explained he wants everyone in the community to spread the message of public safety.
“I think when the youth get involved, parents get involved and the community comes together, it sends a strong message,” said Hendrickson.
He hopes that message will cause others to “be more vigilant” and said “together we can put the ‘neighbor’ back in neighborhood.”
Lead by Example, founded by Hendrickson and other group of mentors in 2014, was created to “to reverse the spiraling growth rates of incarceration of young people in disadvantaged communities,” according to the organization’s website.
Hendrickson, now an ordained evangelist at True Vine Pentecostal Faith Church, and some of the other mentors at Lead by Example are former convicts who are now looking to affect positive change for young people in their communities.
For more on Lead by Example visit leadb