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Hats Off To UW-Madison’s Howard Moore

July 8, 2017

Too often we hear the bad news and cringe.  We read the vile happenings in the world and wish for something to lift our sails.  I read about UW-Madison’s Howard Moore’s attempts to make a difference in his hometown neighborhood and knew there was something good to post about today.

Things have changed a lot since Moore, a former University of Wisconsin men’s basketball player who’s now in his second stint as an assistant coach in the program, left his hometown the first time to come to Madison. 

“If I was living in the city, I wouldn’t let my kids play at the playground and that’s a shame,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest heartbreakers is the sense of community has been destroyed.”

But Moore refuses to stand by idly as the neighborhoods he used to roam deteriorate due to gun violence. This weekend, he’s part of a group hosting the third annual “Legends Taking Back the Streets” event at Collins Academy High School, not far from where Moore grew up.

The two-day event, which begins Saturday, includes a basketball tournament with Chicago high school bragging rights on the line, a women’s all-star game, a ceremony honoring members of the community who have made a difference and a free camp for youths.

Moore and two of his close friends, Kenny Pratt and Jimmy Sanders, started the event in 2015 with the hopes that a tight-knit basketball community in Chicago could come together and promote a positive experience in a city wracked by violence.

“We don’t know where it’s going to lead to,” Moore said. “We hope that it leads to something bigger and better and more positive that can impact more kids and more people.”

Optimism radiates from Moore, but even he gets discouraged at times by what’s going on in his hometown.

There were 762 homicides in Chicago last year, the most in 20 years. A total of 3,550 shooting incidents were documented.

The violence has continued into 2017, and the city is coming off a particularly deadly four-day stretch around the July Fourth holiday. According to the Chicago Tribune, more than 100 people were shot and 15 were killed between late last Friday afternoon and early Wednesday.

After one wave of violence in 2016, Moore made a plea on his Twitter account: “Please God, save my hometown from this senseless violence. Teach us love and peace, not evil and bloodshed.” At the end, he included the hashtag #SaveChicago.

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