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Officers in 006 host basketball tournament in honor of MLK Day
A gigantic poster in the athletic court at Saint Sabina Church read “Hoop hard or get off the court” and “Balling for peace” with a photo of the revered Martin Luther King Jr.
More than 250 people arrived at Saint Sabina for a youth basketball tournament in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Students of any gender from second through eighth grade were able to participate in the “I Have a Dream” basketball event.
Community policing officers of the 6th District, who are al- ways looking for another way to interact with children, part- nered with the church and the Rev. Michael Pfleger to host the tournament. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., students rivaled for the championship while officers supervised games and had the chance to connect with players.
“We want to show the more human side of officers to our youth,” said Monica Hughes, a sergeant with 006. “It’s very much on a personal level, where they see the officers laugh, we have fun and it’s a safe space.”
Players from the winning teams received trophies sponsored by The Sports Shed, a nonprofit organization that serves un- derprivileged areas in Chicago that struggle to run athletic pro- grams due to lack of funding.
While it was the first basketball tournament on MLK week- end, the 6th District has hosted several games in the past. On Thanksgiving weekend in 2021, it held a tournament for ele- mentary and high school students. Hughes affirmed that not
only will the district continue hosting the event, but it will also try to get officers more involved in the game itself to better col- laborate with students.
“Moving forward, we want to have officers participate and actually coach the teams,” Hughes shared. “The interaction is awesome, because it’s not when we are in crisis. That would hopefully bridge the gap with our youth.”
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