In continued efforts to fix the poor relationship between Jamaica residents and the police, the NYPD paired up with York College on April 26 to participate in the fourth annual “NYC Rising Stars Take Charge” event.
“While the NYPD may take charge when they are in uniforms, for this day, that was not what it was about,” said Ronald St. John, the men’s basketball head coach and director of Athletics and Facilities.
Participants from all areas of New York City were invited to attend the event and support those playing, but for those who came out, the event served as a platform for members of the community to physically communicate their support in taking a stand against youth and neighborhood violence.
“It’s about the NYPD bringing some type of community relations to the entire [community], not just the York College community,” said St. John.
Throughout the day, the NYPD gave out promotional gifts, educational games and items for families.
While the basketball games provided a fun and energetic atmosphere, the event shed light on the very serious issue of continued violence in Jamaica. Recently on May 7, 24-year-old Darrell Lynch was gunned down on 113th Ave near 155th Street allegedly after a dispute over a parking spot.
But the NYPD hoped to create an alliance between their organization and Jamaica’s men of color toward the goal of helping to deter crime.
Two games occurred throughout the day. The first began at noon, where NYC High School All Stars were matched up against the “celebrities.”
“The celebrity game is where the youth of the rising stars are competing against guys who have been through it before,” said St. John
The second game had NYC High School Varsity All Stars, and the level of intensity rose as the players were more advanced. For each game, the All Stars compete against the NYPD mixed with NYC Department of Education employees.
The basketball players, NYPD and Department of Education employees weren’t the only ones supporting the event. Almost 800 people filled the bleachers to cheer on the participants. No one was rooting for one specific team, instead they were all rooting for awareness of neighborhood violence and the young men who stand against it.
This is the second year the event has been hosted at York College, though last year only one side of the bleachers, which holds about 600 people, had been opened up for the supporting spectators.
“This year, when I left one side of the bleachers had already filled up.” said St. John.