~ 7-day event dubbed "Hold the Ball" to debut in Potomac Park, Bed-Stuy, August 7-14; Supports youth with peace and empowerment programming ~

In an effort to deter gang activity and empower against gun violence occurring in parks across Brooklyn, residents are teaming up with the National Action Network (NAN) to pilot a new anti-violence program.

Alongside ongoing basketball games, this weeklong series of events, dubbed "Hold the Ball," offers a time-out for the community to learn and become empowered. During each session, legendary Coach Richard Jones, will lead youth, adults and seniors in a series of classes to educate, inspire and empower: Yoga with a 4-minute meditation tribute to Trayvon Martin, cross-training with top trainer from David Kirsch Wellness, nutritional advice, performances by Get Lite dancers, NYC poets and rappers, art canvas painting and guitar lessons. There will also be resources on hand for college counseling, resume writing and learning your rights regarding stop-and-frisk

All events are FREE to the public and will take place from Wednesday, Aug. 7 to Wednesday, Aug. 14 on the basketball court at Potomac Park in Bed-Stuy.

James McDougal, President of the National Action Network, Central Brooklyn Chapter, is leading the pilot, which is the brainchild of a "Think Tank" of anti-violence activists in the community, representing diverse backgrounds. Their research revealed a trend of shootings occurring in parks. "Last year in 2012, there were 25 shootings and 6 deaths associated with summer basketball," he said.

"Hold the Ball" is the Brooklyn Think Tank's first anti-violence initiative and is inspired by the senseless gun slayings of Trayvon Martin and Antonio Wilson. "Our community is united in confronting this issue," said Rev. Al Sharpton "It starts with inspiring a new generation and empowering them with the tools they need."

"Hold the Ball" is an anti-violence initiative of the National Action Network and it's Think Tank: Black Men Who Care, Ebony Tay, Silver Truck Music, KWU, Mothers Empowered, Feared Voices LLC, Sanuces Ryu, NYPD 79th Precinct, NYC Parks Department, XMental, NYCLU, Humble School of Martial Arts, YMCA.

National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender.

For more information about this event or to schedule an interview with the NAN, please contact James McDougal at (Cc4Change@ 347-323-3844 or Ebony Tay at 917-558-1470


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