Minneapolis community members unite against gun violence through basketball tournament

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When organizers of the “Don’t Shoot Guns, Shoot Hoops” tournament in Minneapolis asked more than 100 attendees if they’ve been affected by gun violence, nearly every person raised their hand.

Going beyond basketball, the organizers of the two-day tournament at the Colin Powell Center gym aimed to spread positivity on the court and unite community members against gun violence.

“We’re pushing the message, and we’re doing it in a creative way,” said Tommy McBrayer, CEO of the nonprofit behind the tournament.

The founder said the fight against gun violence became personal in summer 2019 when he was shot twice in the stomach.

“Being a survivor of gun violence, I can walk and step in their shoes. So that’s what we kind of shed a little light on,” McBrayer said.

20-year-old Faith Allen, a tournament attendee who does outreach work in Minneapolis, also sees the effects of gun violence firsthand.

“It concerns me because how many more lives? We can’t keep doing this to each other,” Allen said.

Allen, who normally helps serve food and makes spiritual efforts, took a different approach to change on Saturday.

“I love it because basketball has always brought the community together – just like music, sports is one way. I have seen people who dislike each other took it out on the court,” she added.

Allen said she believes community members can effect change; McBrayer says to do so, the entire community needs to join the effort.

“It’s just a lot of senseless things happening,” McBrayer said. “Today’s conflict resolution needs to be better in our community. It’s a lot of things that can be better. So like I said, it’s a step in the right direction.”

The final teams are facing off Sunday. Those who want to learn more can visit the organization’s website.