“Raise Rackets Not Guns”, will take place Thursday, Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bushrod Park at 59th and Shattuck in Oakland. Youth will receive free tennis rackets, tennis balls, t-shirts, and tennis lessons.
Mike London, the founder of ‘Raise Rackets, Not Guns’, calls the event a dream come true. By promoting tennis participation to communities of color, he is encouraging young people to build social skills rather than increase the crime rate in minority communities.
Atan early age, he was introduced to tennis, and he used the sport to release frustrations that could have led to violent acts. London went on to become one of the Bay Area’s best players, garnering acclaim during the 1970s and 1980s.
His sports career suffered a setback when he fell from four stories in 2001 suffering multiple fractures and severely damaging his leg. Doctors had no other choice but to amputate it.
But it wasn’t until he was robbed at gunpoint, twice in a four-day period, that he realized his life, from both the fall and the robbery incidents, had been spared for a purpose.
“I began praying for a direction to my life,” London said.
Fixed with a prosthetic leg and a spirit of thankfulness, London now uses his life to inspire young minority youth to leave the street life. “Raise Rackets, Not Guns” is his way of using the sport that saved his life as a way to give back to his community.
His goal is to teach 50 youth and schedule ongoing tournaments throughout the year to focus their attention on the positive instead of the violence and negativity plaguing their communities.
For more information about Raise Rackets, Not Guns, contact Mike London at (510) 689-3473 or Alisha Harrell at (510) 502-0509.