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Mayor’s Night Hoops works to prevent youth violence in Kansas City, Missouri

Mayor's Night Hoops
Posted at 9:42 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 23:23:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are several strategies in reducing violence — one of them is prevention.

That's what Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas says he's doing on the basketball court.

Each point scored on the hardwood means a chance to keep some of city's youngest alive.

DeAnthony Hicks, 12, is one of more than 400 boys and girls who signed up for this year's "Mayor's Nights" program.

"They’re doing something that they love and they’re having fun doing it, and they’re not in the streets," Hicks said.

Hicks is participating specifically in Mayor's Night Hoops.

"People talk about challenges with young people when they're 17, when they're 20, when they're 25," Lucas said. You know what? Invest in them when they're really young."

KCPD Ofc. Oasha White also participated in the event on Tuesday.

"Standing involved in sports will keep you out to all of the crime that's going on in the city and it allows you to see that there's a different side to Kansas City," White said.

But it's tough to escape reality as KCMO is inching towards another deadly year in recent memory.

As of Tuesday evening, there have been 102 homicides in the city — six of those victims under the age of 17.

And violence knows no boundaries, as over the weekend, two teens were shot and killed in Raytown.

"I mean, it just sad to hear people just killing each other. That's kind of messed up," Montavion Latrell Dean, a Mayor's Night Hoops participant said.

Dean dreams of being drafted by the NBA one day and wishes people would stop taking each others lives.

"Don't do it. You got you got other things to do in your life," Dean said. "You've got a future ahead of you. Just don't do it, not worth it. That's like, that's what my mom told me, so I started to do it myself. So, I would just keep on doing good."

Mayor's Night Hoops takes place at five different community centers around KCMO. To learn more, people can visit this link.