LUBBOCK, Texas — Following a rise of gun violence in East Lubbock, community leaders like former Estacado basketball player, A.J. McCleod decided to organize weekly Peace on the East walks, to be a part of the change.
Head Estacado Basketball Coach, Tony Wagner, said he encourages his kids to be a part of their community, and this walk gives his athletes a chance to have their voices heard.
“If the other kids see them leading by example and doing positive things,” Wagner said. “Then they could follow suit.”
Wagner said he hopes weekly walks such as this one, promote both peace and unity in East Lubbock, as well as changing the negative stereotypes surrounding their neighborhood.
“They understand what’s going on in our neighborhood,” Wagner said. “They want to see the change in both the culture and the negative connotation that it gets all the time.”
Junior Estacado Basketball Player, Dakarai Thompson, is one of several players participating in the weekly walks.
“He tries to prepare us to be grown men and welcome us to the real world,” Thompson said. “Cause we only have two more years left.”
Wagner said for him it’s never been about winning awards or titles, but making sure his athletes are prepared for life after high school.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Wagner said. “You have to have a passion for it and you have to really really love it and really really care about kids.”