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First annual Unity in the Community

Posted at 12:04 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 00:04:54-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Law enforcement and Grand Rapids teens came together in Martin Luther King Park Wednesday afternoon.

They played in a basketball tournament called Unity in the Community.

The event was designed to bring together Grand Rapids police, fire fighters and high school students around a shared interest.

It gave students the opportunity to hear directly from officers and run drills with the head coach of the Chicago Bull, Jim Boylen.

Coordinator Michael "Pops" Sims says this was much more than basketball.

"Well, I'm from this community, you know, born and raised, I came from Cass Street," Sims said.

"I was just experiencing the same thing that everybody else was during the civil unrest, all over the country you had a bunch of things going on in people's community. And I just, I didn't have no more protests in me, so I wanted to figure out what's the next step. And this is what I came up with, let's bring everybody together and see if we can change and start from the inside out."

Boylen agreed, saying, "Things have to change. We have to do a better job I'm hoping this can be a movement so just a moment, and anything you needed for me I was going to do, worked out great in my schedule. But I think I would have been here no matter what was going on.

Sims said this was the first event but it won't be the last.