Father Michael Pfleger has battled against street violence on the South side of Chicago for years. He knows all too well the pain that many families have felt after a loved one has fallen victim to street violence as his adopted son, Jarvis Franklin, was killed after being caught in gang crossfire in 1998.
Joakim Noah Gives An Assist to Father Pfleger
The Chicago Bulls center will lend a hand in Father Michael Pfleger's "Balling For Peace" tournament
But Pfleger has organized a monumental, one day gang truce in the city and is sponsoring a basketball tournament for four separate gang factions called “Balling For Peace.”
The games will be played on Sept. 22 at St. Sabina Church from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and some of Chicago’s most well known athletes will lend their support including Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah. Quentin Richardson of the Orlando Magic is also scheduled to be in attendance along with former NBA great, Isiah Thomas, who Pfleger says helped bring this event together.
“This came about when I was out in the street every Friday night,” said Father Pfleger in a press release. “Isiah Thomas was with us and we were talking to some brothers when he asked them to come together for one day. I have been begging athletes to get involved and when they say yes, I’m grateful .”
Pfleger would also like to see the peace extend beyond just one day.
“This is not a one time Saturday thing,” Pfleger said. “It’s a beginning and then we can continue to work for peace. There is only one thing that matters for me: stop the shootings. Whatever it takes, whatever we can try, I’m with it. Stop the shooting.”
The event is free and open to the public and all are invited to attend.