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A police officer and a firefighter embrace before the game begins. Photo by Angeline Bernabe.

Cool Out basketball event held in response to recent shootings

on October 28, 2016

The Richmond Police Department beat the Richmond Fire Department with a score of 51-41 on the basketball court at Sylvester Greenwood Academy last Sunday.

The occasion for the game of hoops was a “Cool Out” event, originally organized to teach students how to live a healthy lifestyle but retooled in response to recent gun violence in the community.

The idea behind the event was to let “the community know we’re here for them and [that] we want to give kids an opportunity to play and grow and thrive,” said Reginald Figgs, Community Schools Coordinator at Greenwood, an alternative high school for students who have experienced trauma or are trying to graduate under unique circumstances.

Last month, Chrisean Nealy, a member of Figgs’ basketball team at Greenwood, was fatally shot on Richmond Parkway.

“We just wanted to give the students an opportunity and sort of cool out and get away from some of the mental health trauma that they had during the week and get them prepared for school,” said Figgs.

Prior to the game between the fire and police departments, student teams from across the school district hit the court.

Figgs said the day’s goal was to attract members of the community of all ages to attend and participate. He said he has found that people in the community will come together if there is a venue or space to do so.

“We’re just trying to open the doors and just provide a safe place and positive people in front of the kids,” Figgs said.


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