For years, including throughout the dynasty, the Chicago Bulls practiced in Deerfield, Ill., a neighboring community of Highland Park. Many of its players, including Michael Jordan, lived there.
So it’s no surprise that the statement the franchise issued in the wake of Monday’s mass shooting at a 4th of July parade struck a personal chord.
“What happened today in Highland Park was horrifying and senseless,” the Bulls’ statement began. “Over the years, Highland Park has been home to many members of Bulls nation, including a number of Bulls players and staff. Our connection with the community is personal, and it holds a particularly special place in our hearts. We are grieving with the community and everyone affected, and we support them as we all mourn this tragedy.
“Gun violence inflicts pain on our friends, neighbors, families, businesses, and communities,” the statement continued. “This situation is one that we’ve been in too many times, saying what feels like the same words and expressing the same sentiments. The Chicago Bulls are committed to change and using the resources in our power to make a different and help solve this epidemic of gun violence.”
The Bulls aren’t just talking the talk here. They walk the walk too, joining forces in 2017 with the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox to form the Chicago Sports Alliance.
The alliance has provided $4 million in grants since its inception to READI Chicago (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, supporting solutions to address gun violence. These grants have been augmented by $1.5 million in matching grants from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.