More than 20 years ago, these guys met before any incident of gunshots where they dreamt of becoming professional basket players but that dream shattered on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The story can be traced back to 1998 when the four guys, Rayshawn, Danny, Keshon, and Harmaine met each other in college and were in their early 20s when they had a peak of their ambitions and emotions where they dream of becoming professional basketball players. Their trip to North Carolina Central was the building block towards the achievement of their dreams.
Jersey four became friends in college because they shared similar likes and dislikes interests and were brought up in a similar neighborhood with dreams of moving their families out of crowded areas and away from the loud streets. In the Bronx, police sirens and ambulances wail in the background as those kids run down the street and gather to play the basketball game. At that time, there were a lot of good players who used to play on that court but none of them were provided with the opportunities like them.
Where these four guys were living, police used to stop kids on the street and search for them. They usually encounter bad cops who stop them and their friends on the street, but they have support from basketball which keeps them out of trouble.
“Growing up I was racially profiled, but I didn’t know what that was,” Reyes said about being stopped by a police officer as a teenager on the way to the bodega. “For the most part, it felt like it was only a problem in the bad neighborhoods and they didn’t profile you on highways.”
They are now partners, brothers, and entrepreneurs who have bonded with each other when a few moments that happened on the New Jersey Turnpike changed the entire direction of their lives.
On different platforms, they are sharing their stories which resonate with an increased power after they faced racial profiling in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. They have to bleed again and again when a Black Life is lost in the hands of American police.
The incident of violence that occurred that night didn’t kill them but racial profiling prevails in the country. The boys call themselves the Jersey Four.