Confronting Gun Violence in NYC

New police recruits getting a tour of Harlem from Rev. Vernon Williams (Photo by Bill Moore via The Amsterdam News)

New police recruits getting a tour of Harlem from Rev. Vernon Williams (Photo by Bill Moore via the Amsterdam News)

The Amsterdam News has been covering recent shootings in New York City with a number of articles that touch on different aspects of the outbreak of violence. On July 10, the paper ran a story about the “war on summer violence” that is occurring across the nation, with some particular comments on events in New York.

The story, written by Nayaba Arinde, Cyril Josh Barker and Nia Sanders, acknowledges Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to ramp up patrols and assign more recruits to jobs as housing officers. But it also notes how unsettling recent events have been for residents of many neighborhoods around the city, especially in Brooklyn.

Just this past weekend, a record-setting 12 people were shot within five hours. One of the victims was Tamecca Haskins, a 32-year-old woman who was fatally shot and killed in Brooklyn. It is just one of many gun-related incidents Brooklyn has faced in the past couple months. Reports conclude that shootings have increased throughout the city, but Brooklyn seems to be the area that is facing the most turmoil. Folks suspect that warmer weather is one factor contributing to this phenomenon, as more people hang out outside. Gang activity is another factor being observed.

Another story published in the Amsterdam News recounts how the Crown Heights neighborhood has witnessed a spate of shootings, with all of the victims black, 13 of them male and two female.

“We need to declare a state of emergency on violence,” said Terryl Ebony, founder and executive director of Misunderstood Youth Development Center. “Focus to combat this issue must be placed on the homes and the schools. We must tackle this issue from the ground up. We cannot wait any longer. We need to recognize that this problem is falling into the hands of our youth at younger and younger ages. Parents need help.”

The story notes that Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams recently launched a new initiative, in collaboration with councilmen, aldermen and selectmen from around the country:

“To effectively combat gun violence, our entire nation must approach this epidemic at the local, grassroots level, which is why I formed the National Network to Combat Gun Violence,” Williams said. “No one should have to worry about gun violence in their neighborhood, so it has been my priority to make my district and this city a safer place for all children to learn and grow. Unfortunately, gun violence threatens this goal by snuffing out the lives of too many of our youth.”

And reporter Jeremy Pasker writes about the Chris Owens Foundation, started by Chris Foye, the father of the teenage boy who was shot and killed by a stray bullet in 2009.

Foye’s past, though unchangeable, has become a driving force for future change and prevention of incidents all too familiar in urban areas across America. In his early 20s, Foye also lost three childhood friends to street life. He never had his father to lean on growing up. He said he shares this lived experience with kids today, believing these commonalities to be an asset to build bridges of communication and trust, filling the void left behind.

“I want to be that Black man to speak up,” he said. “Someone from the community who’s experienced [loss] first hand and [still] uses [his] power to inspire change and provide political, sociological and economic leadership.”

On July 1, Foye’s foundation teamed with another New York City foundation, Man Up!, to hold the first “Peace Is a Lifestyle” conference and “Body of Peace” memorial walk to honor everyone lost to gun crimes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *