The HoopBus came to the city Saturday to join with the Chelsea Youth Adult Alliance and the Chelsea Black Community for a BLM Protest for Breonna Taylor Saturday at Chelsea City Hall.
Residents and participants in the rally and march agreed it was quite an accomplishment for local leaders, including CBC President Joan Cromwell and her son, CYAA leader Kyle Umemba, to bring the HoopBus to Chelsea.
Joey Greenstein, HoopBus driver and producer, said the HoopBus had visited large cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. [for the March on Washington], New York City, and Springfield, the third largest in Massachusetts by population.
“The HoopBus is about spreading love through basketball and shooting the basketball around [there is an actual basketball hoop connected to the bus] Is a way to show solidarity,” too,” said Greenstein.
He said the goal of the HoopBus is “bringing people from all walks of life to show support and love each other and to make a positive impact.”
Chelsea’s second all-time basketball scorer Cesar Castro understands how the sport can bring the community together. Castro and Umemba co-founded the Let It Fly Classic Tournament that has become a very popular event in Chelsea (COVID-19 forced the duo to cancel the Classic this summer). The Classic has resulted in thousands of dollars being awarded to Chelsea students.
“Kyle is my long-time, best friend and I’m very proud of him for doing this and he knows he has my support 1,000 percent,” said Castro. “This is a beautiful thing bringing the city together and sending a positive message and saying everything about Breonna Taylor and racial justice and making sure that everything becomes the right thing to do and comes to life.”
Cromwell delivered the opening remarks at the rally. “I thank you all for being here on such short notice. We reached out to the City and the Police Department and amazingly as usual, everybody is on board as our community always stands with one strong voice and I’m so thankful for that.”
Cromwell encouraged residents to fill out the U.S. Census form. “We want to make sure that we get as much [Federal] funding as we can in this city,” said Cromwell.
She also urged residents to vote in the Nov. 3 election. “This is an election year and this vote absolutely going to change our country and our world, so please make sure you register to vote,” said Cromwell.
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson said he was impressed by the appearance of the nationally recognized HoopBus in Chelsea.
“But I would like to see more of my colleagues in city government attending this rally and showing their support,” said Robinson.