Vic Mensa is making good out of a bad situation.
The Chicago rapper and his SaveMoneySaveLife foundation have announced that they plan to hold an event at the same location where a controversial sting operation took place earlier this month. Mensa and his charity pledge to give away thousands of free tennis shoes to local Chicago children in need.
A sting operation involving a “bait truck” full of Nike sneakers parked in a poor, predominantly black Chicago neighborhood had sparked outrage this month after a video circulated online of police arguing with local residents who claimed that the truck was a “trap” for kids playing basketball at a nearby court. Eventually, Norfolk Southern Railway, which orchestrated the operation in response to a series of cargo thefts in the area, owned up to the deed and apologized to the community for stoking distrust between locals and law enforcement.
“Last week Chicago Police escorted a ‘bait-truck’ full of shoes through the South Side of Chicago to lure poor people with FREE NIKES. So we’re filling a truck with shoes to give away to those who need it,” Mensa tweeted Thursday, along with a link to an Amazon page where people can buy the same shoes the “Reverse” rapper says will be given to students.
Activist Shaun King has been promoting and documenting the shoe drive since it was announced. SaveMoneySaveLife aims to distribute 5,000 pairs of shoes. The foundation also reached out to shoe companies as well as athletes and other high-profile figures asking if they could donate or help promote the campaign.
“We wanted to do something in response, but have a positive response,” Laundi Keepseagle, the executive director of SaveMoneySaveLife foundation told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday. “We don’t want to create conflict with the police, but we do want to take a step forward, and just showcase that acts like that aren’t acceptable in communities that we care for.”
The date of the event will be released after the foundation receives the shoes, the Sun-Times reported.
You can purchase Mensa’s shoes for yourself here.