In times of uncertainty and fear, one woman from Philadelphia is working to break the tension and bring her local community together.
Protests have continued all over the U.S. in response to the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the numerous Black people who have lost their lives to police brutality. As cities become restless in their fight for change and action, COVID-19 still looms as a concern for large crowds.
Stephania Ergemlidze has spent the last year traveling around Philly with a portable basketball hoop to offer an hour or two of solace and fun. Since the start of the protests over Memorial Day weekend, she has picked the habit back up, knowing the community needs an opportunity to come together and play.
“People needed this positivity,” Ergemlidze told WPVI-TV. “For me to see like the city just completely torn apart is killing me inside. I wanted to find a way that I could bring some kind of light to the situation in my own way and unite everybody.”
Ergemlidze posts updates on where the basketball hoop will be next on her Instagram. She provides hand sanitizer, asks that participants bring their own masks and calls the project Ballin’ for Justice.
She aims to eventually find a way to spread the mission to other cities too. In her most recent Instagram post, she announced her plans to visit Minneapolis to hopefully bring the community together in the same way as she did in Philadelphia.
“It was just like an unreal experience,” Ergemlidze said. “The way that people just come together is really cool. I am so happy that what we did is actually creating some kind of impact.”
Activism isn’t limited to standing on the frontlines, here are places you can donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement and the protestors.
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