Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Brooklyn basketball tournament honoring Trayvon Martin gets under way

A basketball group in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn is trying to prevent a Trayvon Martin-like tragedy by promoting harmony and celebrate diversity in the neighborhood.

Activist Maurice Ballard launched the Trayvon Martin Basketball Tournament Saturday — and specifically set it in the racially-divided neighborhood where black teen Yusef Hawkins was killed by a white mob in 1989.

"Racism may never get cured," said Ballard. "But Bensonhurst is the place where we can start to make a difference."

On Saturday, kids came dressed in hoodies to mark Martin's death and to protest the acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman just weeks after the hot-button verdict came in.

The tournament brings together over 300 kids from the tough Marlboro and Coney Island Houses each week for the round-robin tournament at Scarangella Park.

Winning isn’t everything — or even the only thing — at this tourney. The goal, said Ballard, is to bring together a diverse, yet still self-segregated, community that’s 34% Asians, 13% Latino, 1% black, and the rest white.

"This is really about keeping Trayvon's memory alive," he said.

Here's hoping everyone gets the important message —from the kids up to the adults.

The tournament will run Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays until Aug. 31.

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