CHICAGO (WLS) --A peace basketball tournament will be held in Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhood tonight, part of an effort to keep youth in the city safe and off the streets.
For some Chicago youth, success in life is no slam dunk. Community leaders are trying to help young people score, not only on the court but also in life in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods.
"There's a violence crisis and we need all hands on deck from every aspect of our community," says Rev. Ira Acree.
"It is really a recipe for disaster to have young people out on the street without opportunities," says Rev. Marshall Hatch.
They're helping organize the 3rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Basketball Peace Tournament at Purcell Hall at West Washington & Kildare on the city's west side. The two day tournament starts Friday. Special guests include former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Tony Snell from the Chicago Bulls.
"It is going to be eight teams from the community and each team will have 10 players," says Rev. Acree. "All the players will be between the ages of 16 and 24."
Peace tournaments held across the city by different groups bring young people together to battle it out on the court. Although bragging rights are on the line, these tournaments are more about winning in life.
"There are a lot of character lessons that people learn in sports," says Rev. Hatch.
"We play ball and then we create ambassadors who go from the court back to the community to start being ambassadors of peace, trying to calm the violence, eradicate the violence from our community," says Karl Brinson, of the NAACP.
The tournament begins at 5:30 p.m. Organizers are asking people from the community to come support the teams playing tonight and tomorrow, and take the lessons of peace back into the community with them.