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Peace Basketball Tournament in Halifax provides opportunity for youth

Bouncing towards peace on and off the court
WATCH: After years of combating severe gun violence and chronic unemployment, a Nova Scotia community has turned to sports as a means to promote peace. Ross Lord explains.

At the Peace Basketball Tournament, finding the mark on the court is only half the battle.

Organizers of the North Preston-based tournament are also trying to tip the balance between violence and peace.

“We really just want to push the idea of peace, and really push what peace means to people and give people the opportunity to operate in peace for a weekend,” said Corvell Beats, the tournament organizer.

READ MORE: Toronto Raptors NBA champ Danny Green brings hoops camp to Halifax

The tournament was created out of desperation and in response to a series of shootings in 2016. By the end, seven men — all African-Nova Scotians under the age of 30 — were left dead.

Police say many of the attacks were connected to the illegal drug trade.

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“We looked at it like, ‘what can we do to kind of like combat against it,” said Beals.

Organizers don’t expect this tournament to solve deep-rooted problems, but they say it’s worthwhile if it helps clear a path towards a more positive future.

Miranda Cain, a co-organizer of the tournament, says that a basketball game is not going to stop the violence but it can refocus the energy of the community.

“If we can keep peace in our minds and get our inner peace, and understand that we work better when we’re on a brighter side, then why not?” said Cain.

The tournament also provides the opportunity for youths to navigate the future.

WATCH: North Preston man hopes new basketball court inspires youth

North Preston man hopes new basketball court inspires youth
North Preston man hopes new basketball court inspires youth

That includes people like Kendall Saunder, 19, who is entering his first year of university.

“No matter where you’re from, no matter who you are, everyone comes together,” said Saunder. “[It’s] very peaceful.”

The tournament is spreading to include other communities in the Halifax area.