Marking 15 Years of Man Up! and Remembering Daesean Hill

Man Up! celebrating 15 years (Photo by Lem Peterkin via Amsterdam News)

As the anti-violence and community activism organization Man Up! celebrates 15 years of serving as peacekeepers and offering empowerment programs, the occasion also marks the anniversary of the tragic death that led to its founding.

Daesean Hill, 8 (Photo via Amsterdam News)

On Nov. 17, 2003, Daesean “Dae-Dae” Hill was walking home from school in East New York with his stepfather and siblings when a bullet fatally hit the 8-year-old. This past Saturday, the community released balloons on the corner of Sutter Avenue and Hendrix Street, also known as Daesean Hill Drive, in his memory. His mother Kimberly Hairston attended the ceremony after traveling from Atlanta where she now lives.

Nayaba Arinde writes in Amsterdam News:

Indeed, there were plenty of tears and hugs for the heartache. There was reminiscing by family members and a tight community as they gathered to support each other. Afterward, Hairston and Mitchell, alongside Assemblyman Charles Barron and Councilwoman Inez Barron, led community members to the Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center for a wonderful, intergenerational music, paint and sip event, where signs for Dae-Dae, Man Up! and the Notorious BIG were created with stencils (courtesy of DJ Blue and legal aid attorney Anthony Posada of the Criminal Justice Unit).

“The event and the day turned out to be amazing,” Hairston said. “I felt Dae-Dae’s spirit in the room with all of the love. I would like to send a very big thank you to brother Mitchell, and my Man Up! family for bringing me back home and making this event possible, and most of all for consistently keeping Dae-Dae’s legacy alive. I’m very proud of the work he is doing.”

Hairston describes what happened to her family after her young son’s death, saying “that when the media lights fade, often times so do the people.” Read more at Amsterdam News.

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