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Jimmy Lee Recreation Center hosts "Stop the Violence" basketball event

Jimmy Lee Recreation Center hosts “Stop the Violence” basketball event
Jimmy Lee Recreation Center hosts “Stop the Violence” basketball event 02:19

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Jimmy Lee Recreation Center in St. Paul hosted a "Stop the Violence" event Saturday featuring basketball games and contests.

"I think the cops are gonna win," said eight-year-old Jeremiah Eason while preparing for a big game. His team of kids are warming up to face the St. Paul Police Department basketball team.

"[It's] very, very different. A lot different," said Eason. "Because I play on my school team but I never played against a police officer,"

Making a difference is Khadar Greer's goal for his "Stop the Violence" basketball event.

"I see so much in kids. I see so much in the youth and that's what it's about," said Greer. "Because when I was younger I didn't have that many outlets. So I feel like this would be the perfect outlet for the kids."

The genesis of this project -- which included a dunk contest, a game versus a semi-pro basketball team, guest speakers, and arts performances -- was the shooting at the Mall of America that took the life of Greer's friend, Johntae Hudson in December.

"It made me look at life differently," said Greer. "Like anybody can lose their life to something so tragic. It made me feel like I had to be stronger and do something bigger for the community."

It was also a chance for the community to come back out to the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center -- the site of another shooting in January.

"It's been quiet. People have been getting into their fear shell. People just not believing in the community and the neighborhood per say," said Johnny Allen, whose organization manages the rec center.

"Throughout all the violence that has happened these last few months, we wanna reaffirm the community that there are people out here that are trying to strive for a better place, peaceful neighborhoods and loving neighbors," said Allen.

Getting the ball rolling, for a safer community.

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