Meet Yardables, an Organization Bringing Jackson Together to End Gun Violence
When Jackson's own Kendall Brown and Allen Anderson noticed a need in the community to create a "culture shift" in the way communicate with one another in and about Jackson. They started by taking an idea from their group of friends and turned it into a way to bring the community together, end violence, continue better relationships with police and more.
Here's how they're doing it.
How Yardables Started
According to Brown and Anderson, "Yardable" comes from when someone says something that could be classified as what some people call "fighting words." They would then call it a "yardable offense" meaning they would either talk things out or take it to the yard and box it out...then get back to having fun together.
They then saw a message and an opportunity there so they started an LLC and Yardables was on its way to spreading a similar message of anti-violence and better conflict resolution tools around the community.
CLICK HERE to check out their Facebook page.
"Boxing It Out"
Now you may think "wait, they're trying to solve violence...with more violence?"
However, that could not be further from their mission.
The guys behind Yardables actually explained it in that they are trying to create a "culture shift" in the community. They said they notice youths today don't just go out and play outside and, let's be real here, fight like they used to. Everything is behind a screen so when they get into conflict, they don't know how to handle it and are more likely to grab a gun to solve their issues.
Now, they use Yardables as a chance for people to "squash their beef" by either coming together to talk things out...or box it out!
Yardables Events: More Than Amateur Boxing
Now, at these events, of course there is the "beef squashing" but there is also musical performances by Jackson-area musicians, local food and vendors, activities for kids like bounce houses and slip-n-slides, as well as police officer dunk tanks.
Brown and Anderson say the events are more of a "showcase to put Jackson's best foot forward" and is trying to change the negative preconceived notions people have about Jackson by showing that the community has a lot to give.
It's all about promoting "community togetherness" which is why aside from the police officers voluntarily being dunked in the dunk tanks, there is also some walking around getting to know the community they are policing better.
Of course, there is the boxing, which Brown and Anderson say feature no pros and no "rankings", just simply people who voluntarily show up who maybe have an issue with each other and want to settle it once and for all.
They say the event starts and ends with a prayer, and "win, lose, or draw" once the fight is over, so is whatever issue people may be having and set an example for the community.
Future Plans For Yardables
As far as where Brown and Anderson want to take the organization, the events are stepping stones to getting there.
"There's so many divisions of Jackson," they said. Which is true, there's Vandercook Lake, there's Michigan Center, and so many more, smaller communities that often overlook the city of Jackson itself. "We're all Jackson and all have positives to offer."
That's why Yardables says their two-to-five year plan is to raise enough money and awareness to be able to start a future program, using Detroit's Downtown Boxing Group as an example.
They want to start an after-school program to help kids get resources Yardables founders see lacking in the community. The plan for the program is to make it free for kids by putting academics first, meaning they have to keep up certain grades to be able to attend.
From there, they will learn things like life skills, self defense, anti-violent conflict resolution, financial literacy and just basic things everyone needs to prepare for adulthood and/or college.
Yardables Event - September 4th, 2021
Brown and Anderson partnered with the Jackson Makerspace in hosting and say this event will be a "two-parter" with the first portion of the day going from 11 AM to around 4:30 PM.
That is where the community is welcome to come, enjoy the bounce-houses, slip and slide, dunk tanks, etc. as Yardables says they wanted to use this portion of the day as a sort of "end of summer bash" to bring the community together after being apart for so long.
The second part starts after 4:30 and this is when the boxing and music will be featured in a day full of "a little bit of something for everyone."
Then, after 8 PM the Yardables crew will be heading over to The Chase Sports Bar, an establishment Brown and Anderson say have been "pivotal" to their success by supporting them in their mission but also by being the title sponsor for their events.
It will be something of an "afterparty" to wrap up what is sounding like an awesome day of bringing the community together, Yardables even says there are two drinks at The Chase named after them!
If you want to make your way out to the event on September 4th, ages 14 and up can get in for a $10 entry fee while there is no charge for ages 13 and under.
We absolutely can not wait to see Yardables reach their goals with this unique example of seeing an issue you would like to change in your community and doing something about it!
A special thank you to Kendall Brown and Allen Anderson for chatting with us and spreading their message of "Guns Down, Gloves Up."