An increase in shootings in Brooklyn drove scores of elected leaders, local Cure Violence groups, neighborhood organizations and other community members to the streets on Saturday for the NYC Gun Violence Prevention Day march.

The march started at three different locations — Utica Ave and Eastern Parkway, Utica Ave and Church Ave, and Foster Ave and Brooklyn Ave — and ended at Brooklyn Museum.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District, organized the NYC Gun Violence Prevention Day and Solidarity Walk, and led the march. She told BK Reader the march was organized in her district due to a, “tremendous spike in gun violence.”

NYC Gun Violence Prevention Day. Photo: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez for BK Reader.

“The community is fed up, we don’t want to see needless lives lost because of gun violence in the community, and we are here to say we support our families, anyone who needs help, we have an organization that can guide you in the right direction, but gun violence has to end.”

She said the lives lost because of the coronavirus pandemic were traumatic enough for the community without the needless gun violence taking the lives of young people.

“[Gun violence] is indiscriminate in terms of who is devastated, who is impacted,” she said. “We are all impacted and that’s why we are all standing here today.”

Assemblymember Diana Richardson, who represents 43rd Assembly District, told BK Reader the community was fighting three pandemics at once: Coronavirus, the unjust killing of unarmed Black men and community gun violence.

NYC Gun Violence Prevention Day. Photo: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez for BK Reader.

Unfortunately, we’ve been negatively impacted this summer by gun violence, but the truth is this summer is not a stand alone situation, gun violence is an ongoing problem in our community,” she said.

She said to stand up to the violence, the community had to be more unified than ever, and the mayor and governor had to see the leadership coming through at the community level.

“The New York City Council, as well as the Mayor’s Office, has put the money where their mouth is where gun violence is concerned, unfortunately the State of New York has not done the same,” she said.

“My presence here today as a state elected official is to not only to represent in an official capacity, but I’m here as a community resident. I’m a mother, I’m a child of this neighborhood and I’d really love to us to be in a different place where harmony and peace were things we didn’t just aspire to idealistically, but were things that we lived every day.”

Nicole Williams, from nonprofit performing arts company Victory Music & Dance Company Inc, said it was extremely important for local organizations to come together and take a stand against gun violence in their community.

“We stand with Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and her vision in terms of making sure that we get the guns out of the hands of those on the streets and give them opportunities to be able to succeed, and give them the leadership skills and everything they need to become better people.”

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