During the summer of 2014, Jackie Robinson Playground became a volatile site, with several shootings happening in and around the park. Christian was just a few steps away from the park during two of those, hearing the gunshots from a distance.
On July 17, 2014, this was not the case. Christian was playing in a 3-on-3 game when two shots went off on the Franklin Avenue side of the Jackie Robinson Playground. Many children were in the park at the time, forced to run toward safety. Christian retreated across the street to Ebbets Field and began sorting through the crazed feelings about what had just occurred.
Anika was the first to receive his call and in short order, they were brainstorming a response.
Within three weeks, the I AM PEACE 3-on-3 Youth Basketball Tournament was born. Young men, ranging in age from 14 to 19, suited up in I AM PEACE t-shirts all atypically wearing the same number: 225. In sports, every athlete has their own number, a unique identifier that differentiates them and often has some personal significance. Rather than giving the tournament participants different numbered jerseys, everyone wore 225 to symbolize a united community. The 225 is a shorthand for the Crown Heights zipcode (11225), and has stood the test of time, now serving as the official logo of I AM PEACE Foundation.
August 9, 2014
The first annual I AM PEACE Tournament was created with less than three weeks of lead time as an urgent response to rampant gun violence taking place in the playground.
The I AM PEACE Tournament consists of 8 teams of 4 players each.
August 8, 2015
The second annual tournament was bolstered by the support of Citizens Committee for New York City, our home church, the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, SLAM Magazine, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
August 13, 2016
I AM PEACE 3 was the first tournament to feature coaches. Coach Kenny Francis traveled from Boston to help guide the Tropic Blue team to their second consecutive championship. This installment was strengthened by a special donation from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
August 12, 2017
The fourth annual I AM PEACE Tournament was another very special day for the local community. With the Co-founders having tied the knot on May 20, 2017 — they quickly switched their gears and pulled off another great day of impact.
Notably, it was our first year having a jersey sponsor, with Elite Performance Integrated Clothing providing the threads for our teams and staff.
August 11th / August 18, 2018
I AM PEACE 5 took a crazy turn when we got rained out on our initial intended date, but one thunderstorm doesn't stop our show!
Through the support of our Church family and consistent I AM PEACE ambassadors, we were able to pull together I AM PEACE 5 for not only a Part 1 but a Part 2.
This year we were able to secure a water sponsor - Dolo's Fitness [A Brooklyn Personal Trainer, Meal Prep extraordinaire, and Author]