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Construction boss to lead campaign that stands against gun violence

Jack Irushalmi, a principal at Tri-Star Construction and original board member of the RENS, a grassroots NYC-based children’s basketball program, has decided to lead a campaign that stands against gun violence.

Following four separate shooting incidents of former and current teammates last year, the RENS teams will participate in the campaign by wearing an “orange patch” on their team uniforms to symbolize their opposition towards gun violence victimizing inner city families.

Jack Irushani

“Orange means make another choice, don’t listen to gang members, close your ears to anyone and everyone who thinks it’s cool to have a gun,” said Irushalmi, whose 7th grade son also plays for the entity.

“It means do whatever you can to fight for safety, decency, change, and a deeper sense of courage. The children and parents at the RENS should feel so proud of their leadership role.”

Andy Borman, the program’s Executive Director, noted that this past season alone, two RENS children were shot. One, a 15-year-old, was left wearing a colostomy bag.
Another was arrested for shooting someone else, and a former 6th grade player, now 14, was charged with shooting his own teenage girlfriend to death.

“The RENS are far from the exception. We are the rule, and it has to stop. Basketball is a beautiful game, these kids are precious, and they are taking a stand,” Borman insisted.
Borman explained,

“All 200 RENS student-athletes (grades three through 11) will wear the emblem and carry the message throughout the yearlong AAU basketball season.” Borman, a member of Duke University’s 2001 NCAA championship team, and the nephew of Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski, said, “It’s impossible to work in this arena without seeing and feeling the full effects of one gun related tragedy after another. These horrors senselessly affect families, children, mothers, and fathers.

“By asking our student athletes to wear the orange color which expresses ‘safety’ and ‘sanity’ in the face of violence, we are hoping to teach children that gun violence is unacceptable and wrong.”

Borman explained that over the past five weeks, he and his Board members have consulted with experts to gather information as to what they could do to not only educate their own kids, but to encourage other grassroots, high school, college and even professional basketball teams to follow suit.

The RENS are teaming up with two organizations — Everytown and Sandy Hook Promise, whose literature they will distribute.

Organization experts, including mothers who lost their own children, will speak to the RENS teams, coaches and parents in an attempt to create healthier choices for all children. Sandy Hook Promise will offer training on their “Know the Signs” prevention programs.

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