'Violence' group to host hoopfest

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- Teams of runners carried torches from the four corners of Albany to meet at the Albany-Dougherty County Judicial building at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The torches and the runners signalled the start of the first four-day City of Champions Hoopfest weekend, sponsored by the Stop the Violence Movement.

"This is a four-day rally and sports event to provide activities that take 500 youth off the streets in positive and healthy activity," said Bishop Frederick Williams, a movement leader from the Gethsemane Worship Center.

"We are giving the youth a kickoff weekend to unify in the effort to reduce crime in our communities all through the city."

The runners were greeted by about 40 residents, city officials and a proclamation before they took off for Albany State University on the second leg of the run.

The proclamation written by Mayor Willie Adams, read by City Commissioner Roger Marietta, declared April 2010 as "Stop the Violence Month" in Albany.

"Events like this are a good way to unite people, especially younger people, against crime," said Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard. "There are more good people who want to stand up against the evil. It is all about family and the meaning of community."

For more information call Stop the Violence at (229) 436-0009.