HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX 11) — A Harlem nonprofit is working to bridge the gap between police and the community one game of chess at a time.

Dozens of neighborhood youth went head to head against New York’s finest Wednesday in the second annual chess tournament put on by the organization Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.

Assistant chief Ruel Stephenson of Patrol Borough Manhattan North said his hope is for the event to humanize the men and women in uniform — showing them in a light different from what people see daily.

“We don’t get to learn and experience the community,” said Stephenson. “The community don’t get to learn and experience the good side of the police department because oftentimes it’s through 911 calls or something serious happening, so I think this is a very good opportunity. Very different than what normally happens.”

“To see police in a different light and to see that they can be nice and they can be our friend, we can play with them,” said fifteen-year-old Alake Sullivan, who works with the nonprofit. “It’s honestly really great.”

It was a day filled with laughter and pure fun as kids enjoyed bouncy houses and indulged in Italian ice. 

Jackie Rowe-Adams is the co-founder of the nonprofit Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. She says that after losing two sons to gun violence, she’s made it her life mission to bring unity to the community while promoting anti-gun violence education.

“I grieve every day, but you would never know, but we call it moving forward crew,” Rowe-Adams said. “It makes me feel good because I know I can’t bring back my kids, and I came to terms with that, but I can certainly help another mother, another family from feeling the pain and hurt that I feel by doing education and prevention.”

The organization supports families impacted by gun violence and provides vital resources to get neighborhood youth off the street. They use events like Wednesday’s chess tournament to rebuild the community’s trust in the police.