Community organizers use basketball as a resource to curb violence in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Dozens of people gathered in North Philadelphia Saturday afternoon with the same intention: to play basketball rather than fall into the violent patterns plaguing the city.

“I wouldn’t put myself in that position,” said Yxng Ka of North Philadelphia. “I wouldn’t want to be dead or gone…basketball is one of the ways we stay out of that kind of stuff.”

Community organizers say they’re dedicated to making 2022 a better year for the city.

Philadelphia faced its deadliest year in 2021 with a record 562 homicides.

Organizer Saul Landers said, “A lot of people are good at basketball, so basketball is like a relief.”

Philadelphia has had 34 homicides so far this year. On Friday night, community members took part in peace patrols, walking in neighborhoods to promote anti-violence.

Earlier this week, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration announced more resources and community programs to hopefully bring down the number of shootings.

“It hurts my heart, and even as an adult, I have fear too,” said Leon Shamsid’Deen, clerk for the Deputy Commissioner’s Office. “Not only fear for myself, but for my children and grandchildren, my wife and my friends, my community…lives are important, and lives are valuable.”

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