On January 30th, 2024, the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) community violence intervention team, Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), held their first Light in the Night (LIN) of 2024. Through a collaboration with Chicago Cares, St. Clare of Montefalco, Real Youth Initiative, Chicago Public Library and the community members who came out to show their support, SWOP’s CP4P team was able to host a successful event. This event saw the return of the “Hoop, Don’t Shoot” basketball tournament that had begun in the summer of 2023 where teams competed against each other for amazing prizes. The original iteration of the Hoop, Don’t Shoot tournament saw participants from different communities coming together in different neighborhoods across the southwest side of Chicago to create safe spaces, bridge gaps between borders and create relationships that transcend being a part of a block, but a part of a community that wants better for one another.
Armando Mancilla, a Case Manager for CP4P, had this to share regarding the event. “Last year’s Hoop, Don’t Shoot events were months in the making and carried on for over a month with a new location hosting us every week. It was such a hit with the community that we knew we wanted to be able to continue to host these tournaments and have these spaces where people from different communities could come together without having to worry about anything and just have a good time. That’s part of what the Light in the Nights are about. It’s a little cold right now, so we don’t want to have everyone outside, but as the year goes on, I can guarantee we’re going to have a ton more events like this wherever we can.” Though this event has come to an end, CP4P leadership and the community members they work with have shown a keen interest in continuing to have their Light in the Night events.