RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Elite ABA Basketball team is making headlines, and not just because of the team’s #3 national ranking.
The semi-pro team is stepping up efforts to fight violence in the Richmond community. On Sunday night, the team extended an invitation to the families of victims of violent crime, to join law enforcement and first responders as the team played the Jersey Express.
During half-time, the team addressed several recent violent crimes, many impacting young people or innocent bystanders.
“It’s time, no, it’s past time to stop the violence that is killing our children and our communities,” said team owner Joyce Patterson.
Last month’s tragic shooting of 12-year-old Amiya Moses sparked outrage in the community. Just a few days before Christmas, several coaches from various sports teams, joined together to walk the streets of Richmond to spread of message of unity.
A plague of violence has swept through the region on the past several months, causing public officials to speak out.
“The solution is going to be the entire community and everybody has to play a role,” said event organizer Antoinette Irving.
RVA Elite teammates already participate in mentoring programs in schools, including the Kids Elite Program. The mission of the program is to provide Richmond youth with basic fundamentals of basketball to enhance motor, social and life skills.
The team also participates in various activities that benefit the American Cancer Society, the Boys and Girls Club and MCV/VCU Florence Neal Cooper Smith Sickle Cell Research.