COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Efforts are going on all year long to try to make Columbus safer.
City leaders met with a United States Marshal last week, and community members are trying to do their part, too.
While it’s several months away, a popular event aimed at keeping children away from violence will be making a comeback.
In the middle of winter, playing basketball outside probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But for one group it is because they want to be ready for summer when they plan to help the community.
On a cold January day, the basketball courts outside are empty, but on a Friday night over the summer, they could be full of community members playing and others cheering them on.
“It’s like that adrenaline running through like we did it again,” said Friday Night Lights founder Tony Gordon. “Each turnout was different, each turnout was bigger, each Friday brought something different.”
Friday Night Lights, a Stop the Violence Friday night league was first held in 2021 to give people something to do and try to make the city safer. It wasn’t held last year, but Gordon said it’s making a comeback for this summer.
“We took a year off to make it bigger and better,” Gordon said. “Hopefully, we outdo the last one.”
For Gordon, the issue is personal. He’s lost a friend and an uncle to violence.
“Hopefully save a life; hopefully, keep someone’s mother from crying,” he said.
During 2021’s league, other resources were also available to kids and families. That’s the plan this time as well. Gordon said organizers just met over the weekend to confirm the league will be back.
“The energy out there was no arguing, no fighting,” Gordon said. The food, the music, the competitiveness, it was just, if we could repeat that again, it would be a blessing.”
Some of the exact details like where and when the league will happen are still being worked out. Gordon said it will start in late June or early July.