SCOTIA – It was a change of scenery, but the gathering was created to promote an important message from the BLX Collective Sunday afternoon on a softball field in Collins Park in Scotia.
Sunday brought sunny skies, high temperatures and humidity made it a perfect day to play outside as BLX hosted its first-ever Kick[ball] the Violence! event.
“We wanted to really focus our energy on building within the community and really educating the people that we are surrounding ourselves with,” Khalisa Jackson, 27, of Schenectady, said. “Mostly to talk about the conditioning with the community that we’ve experienced. The reasons why violence has been prevalent.”
With children and adults sharing the softball field during the co-ed kickball contest, the atmosphere was one of caring and sharing.
“With quarantine and COVID, a lot of people are looking for avenues to just be able to express themselves,” Kenneth Escudero, 26, who was born in Puerto Rico and now resides in Albany, said. “This is a positive avenue to be able to express yourself.
“I’ve talked to people in the community and a lot of times what holds them back is that they don’t feel comfortable in a protest setting.
“If we want to make a change in our community, we’re just displaying another avenue of how we can come together, how we can uplift one another and other tools that we are able to use within our own community. Also, to know who we can reach out to, friendly faces in our neighborhood.”
The community group’s name is a combination of causes.
“BLX stands for Black Leaders Exist, the Black Liberation Experience, Black Love Expanding and we have many other meanings that we also integrate into there,” Jackson said. “BLX is here to build within the community and create some lasting change within the community.”
The event’s name was a play on words, but with a serious meaning to its message.
“We want to talk about the reasoning behind violence within our community [that] exists and the conditions we face,” Jackson said. “The lack of tools, lack of mental health resources, suppressed anger and sadness that turns into rage misplaced, a competition mentality and beefs in a community that linger too long, lack of creative or academic or trade outlets, lack of mentorship and support. We really want to talk about those things today.”
The BLX Collective plans to continue its community conversations.
“We want to have more events like these,” Jackson said. “We want to put our focus on seminars and events that will get people to come out, have fun, laugh together, play, eat, enjoy their lives.
“We deserve to have that moment of peace within all the other things, the adversity that we are facing.”