Former NBA star Allan Houston joins police chief in working out with youth to build unity

Tim Shaw became the police chief in Stamford, Ct., in April, in the middle of the widespread coronavirus pandemic. Within weeks, the U.S. also became embroiled in racial unrest following the death of George Floyd.

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Now that his town is beginning to open up again, Shaw is intent on bringing unity to his community. One way Shaw, who is white, is doing that is by hosting weekly workouts at a local park and inviting kids from the Boys and Girls Club, many of whom are Black, to join him.

On Wednesday, Shaw was joined by former NBA star Allan Houston and former NFL player Silas Redd Jr.

“It shows us everyone here is important,” said Carl Michel, who runs the Youth Empowerment Show in Stamford. “Everyone here is equal. It shows us no one is more important than anyone else. It shows us we all bleed the same and, of course, sweat the same.”

According to WNPR.org, Shaw and Michel met earlier this summer at a Black Lives Matter rally, and they have since “partnered to bring police together with the city’s minorities and youth.”

“To be quite frank, as a Black man in this community, I’ve never seen police as an ally until now,” Michel told WNPR.

For Houston, a two-time All-Star who played 12 seasons in the NBA (three in Detroit, nine in New York), working with youth is in his nature. It’s a large part of his Allan Houston Legacy Foundation.

“The Allan Houston Legacy Foundation is dedicated to the belief that the fundamental values of faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership and legacy can provide a foundation that enables people to reach their full potential,” says the foundation’s website, FISLL.com. “Through a mentoring initiative and hands-on workshops, AHLF engages youth in guided dialogue and structured activities designed to build trust, teach valuable life skills, enhance spiritual growth, and provide overall happiness.”

Part of the FISLL Project is the Allan Houston Mentoring Initiative, which partners with Metro Parks and Recreation of Louisville, Ky. (Houston’s hometown) and the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford. The program aims to strengthen relationships between youth and their mentors.

With those five values — faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership and legacy — at the forefront, Houston has been in awe of what God has done through his foundation.

In a 2018 podcast with Sports Spectrum, he said, “It’s been really incredible over the last 12 years to see how our community projects, our families, our youth groups have really embraced the words and the language to try to make it a lifestyle.”

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