85 student-athletes to commit to nonviolence at ‘Night Against Violence’ basketball games on Tuesday

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The athletic director of Quest Charter Academy in Peoria is harnessing the influence of student-athletes to help stop the violence.

Elmer Dickerson, athletic director of Quest Charter Academy, said most of the students at Quest have been affected by violence from the past two years, including a student-athlete who lost his father in 2020 and an assistant coach who lost their nephew on the first day of practice.

Tuesday at 3 p.m., Peoria Police Officers will escort student-athletes to Bradley University’s Renaissance Coliseum for the “Night Against Violence” trio of basketball games.

At halftime, 85 student-athletes will present a signed form promising not to use violence to settle disputes. Dickerson said student-athletes are respected and influential, so kids will listen to their message.

“These are the ones that people look up to, these are the leaders, the good kids. But I look at them as leaders. As leaders I tell them it’s their responsibility to give back to the community, so this is our part giving back to the community,” he said.

Dickerson is hoping for one thousand people to attend. Attendees should wear white to show solidarity with the student-athlete’s commitment to nonviolence.

“We have to start with the youth because this situation didn’t happen overnight, so it can’t be solved overnight. So I want the youth… These are the ones that are going to change our future. If I can plant that seed for our future, we’ll be alright,” he said.

Peoria has seen a record year of 34 homicides this year.

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