Coach Carter hosts Richmond fundraiser

November 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Parents and students in Richmond are still trying to come to terms with the brutal gang rape of a girl at Richmond High School. Thursday night, the school hosted a charity basketball game with the help of former Richmond High coach Ken Carter. The money raised will go toward safety programs on campus.

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Police and firefighters in Richmond went head to head, but they're doing it to help everyone heal.

"Sports is just a way of uniting everyone, a common place we can all meet and talk and have fun," said Carter.

Carter has helped Richmond before. His dedication to Richmond High School's basketball team inspired the movie "Coach Carter" starring Samuel L. Jackson. When he heard about last month's gang rape of a 16-year-old on the school's campus, he got together with Richmond's Police Activities League and organized a charity basketball game between the firefighters and the police officers.

"We're all on one team and we're real people, with real problems, looking for real solutions," said Carter.

The coach himself even put on a jersey and got out on the court. Both teams played hard and it was a close game. Parents of Richmond High students say it felt good to watch the game and have some fun.

"We need this big hug, Richmond needs this big hug. Richmond High and Richmond needs this big hug," said parent Tracy Reed.

The night had a serious side. About 60 people showed up an hour before the game to listen to a panel discussion about safety. Parents had questions about reconnecting with their kids and with police.

"I was slightly disappointed at this turnout. It's not the number of people that should be here," said parent Erma Plair.

The details of the rape are horrific and have been highly publicized. Police say the girl was attacked for more than two hours, supposedly, by as many as 10 people, while at least 20 others watched. The victim was on the minds of many people as they watched the game.

"I think she should be very proud to see this effort. It was an unfortunate situation, but out of something bad something always rises good," said parent Alexis Patton.

They raised $1,025 at the game. They plan to give it to the school in the hopes they will spend it on improving safety and also give some of it to the victim.

By the way, police beat the firefighters by five points.

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