NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Lowcountry community coming together to hoop for change.
“We did an AAU tournament,” Ronald Smith, father of Ronjanae Smith lost her life to gun violence in May 2021, said. “A memorial tournament for the kids. To be able to come out, represent her, get a trophy, win a championship. Anything to keep the kids out of the street and to keep the violence down.”
The inaugural Positive Vibe Memorial Basketball Tournament honors the life of Ronjanae Smith, and is also an effort to end gun violence in North Charleston.
“We don’t want to other parents cry like we cried,” Smith said. “And right now, the violence has went up so much in the City of North Charleston. We’re going to continue to fight this fight to stop the violence in all communities.”
Some community leaders say events like this are effective in the fight against gun violence, but wish city leaders were more proactive in the fight.
“In many communities,” Pastor Thomas Dixon said, “such as right here in North Charleston, the city government and those that are in power, and those who have the financial wherewithal to make changes, are not doing so.”
Dixon believes making substantial change requires everyone in the community working together.
“The community has got to get engaged in this process,” he said, “but it’s not just the community. Our local municipal governments need to understand their responsibility in breaking down the cycle of gun violence. Our school system needs to understand their responsibility.”
Smith’s parents say more than anything, they want continue doing their part to make change in the community, while honoring their daughter.
“I know she’s smiling down on us to see that everyone is here,” Smith said. “And tomorrow, we have a ceremony and it’s going to be even more lovely. So, the community can see what we’re doing for my daughter, and how we’re carrying her name.”
Sunday, May 1 is the last day of the tournament. Games begin at the North Charleston Athletic Center at 9:00 a.m.