Chicago leaders met Thursday in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood to discuss safety regarding youth sports amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as gun violence.
“We are facing two pandemics in Chicago: gun violence and COVID-19,” said attendee and parent Romel Murphy. “I worry about them both daily.”
On Thursday, doctors, educators, athletes and organizers met at the CSO Sports Multiplex in Hyde Park and said they hope community members view the 80-square foot facility as a safe space for kids when it comes to playing sports as well as seeking shelter from city violence.
“With everything going on with all of our Black and Brown children, we have to find somewhere for them to go where they can feel at home,” said organizer Sibyl Holloway.
The sports complex offers several basketball courts as well as batting cages and offers a full-service health center where those who wish to participate in athletics at the facility must undergo a mandatory screening process that includes temperature checks and rapid coronavirus testing. Sports participants are also required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“I believe in the facility and we need get our kids tested so they can come in here and have some type of physical outlet,’ said Olympia Fields native and former Chicago Bull turned broadcaster Kendall Gill who was a part of Thursday’s discussion.
With Chicago Public School students beginning the new school year at home next month, organizers hope they can be a part of a solution for parents hoping to keep their children safe and healthy.
“They are trying, attempting to make place as safe as possible for children to have somewhere to continue to do sports,” Holloway said.