(JERSEY CITY) – Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) is hosting a basketball tournament next month in hopes of fostering a greater relationship between residents, civic leaders and law enforcement officials to better work together in the fight against illegal gun use and gun violence, which has claimed too many lives and torn apart too many families in Jersey City.
“Sports bring people together. You can walk into a gym or go to the neighborhood park and play a pick-up game with people you have never met. This is the premise behind Shoot Hoops Not Guns; bringing people together who may not know each other, and may be distrustful of each other to work together to try to fix a problem that at the end of the day affects us all,” said Mainor, a detective with the Jersey City Police Department and chair of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
The Shoot Hoops Not Guns 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 at New Jersey City University. The tournament is open to men and women between 15 and 35 years old. Participants under 18 must submit written permission from a parent.
Those interested may register at Mainor’s district office, 485-7 Martin Luther King Drive, Jersey City or by calling (201) 536-7851. It is co-sponsored by New Jersey City University, Jersey City Police Department, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
The tournament will kick-off with an opening ceremony recognizing victims of gun violence, and feature entertainment, contests, raffles and giveaways for children and adults.
Shoot Hoops Not Guns is part of the Block2Block Tour, an initiative that works to gain a better understanding of blocks or neighborhoods and the issues affecting them in order to better serve these communities and address these issues. The initiative requires support and partnership from the community, law enforcement, civic leaders and various stakeholders.
“There is a divide between community members, stakeholders, civic leaders and local law enforcement on the issue of crime; more specifically the issue of gun violence and it’s only getting worse,” said Mainor. “This disconnect leads to defensive rhetoric and impulsive finger pointing, with every group failing to realize that when a life is lost to mindless violence – despite which side of the uniform they stand on – a friend, a child, a sister, a father, a mother is left grieving.”
“We’re all on the same team. We all want the same thing. We want to put an end to gun related crimes and unnecessary deaths in our community. We don’t want to see another family grieve,” said Mainor. “This event provides a real opportunity to tackle gun violence in our community as a united front. I hope residents will come out and join us in this effort to create a safer and better Jersey City.”