Shortly after midnight on Thursday, June 6th, a 31 year-old black man was shot in the chest in the S.O.S. Bed-Stuy catchment area. This gun-violence struck in a communal area of 380 Lexington Ave, during a time when most feel safe and secure in their homes. Luckily, the victim has pulled through, but the incident clouded an otherwise peaceful time in the community. Thus the S.O.S. team at Neighbors in Action Bed-Stuy stepped in with a shooting response a day later to encourage community members to take a stand and help stop violence.

With over 40 participants assembled, S.O.S. Bed-Stuy Outreach Worker Shneaqua “CoCo” Purvis began on the bullhorn with a simple message: this is not normal. Recognizing that everyone has something to lose when gun violence occurs, CoCo implored residents to understand the little things that are interrupted when violence is accepted and not rooted out – children not being able to play outside, people feeling anxious about personal safety in their own neighborhoods, trauma experienced by friends and family of victims. Sunny, a member of Mothers Demand Action got on the mic to let people know that even though she wasn’t from Bed-Stuy, she empathizes with the pain suffered by those both directly and indirectly affected by gun violence. She reminded everyone that deaths by gun violence have the same outcome whether they are in NYC or Connecticut, whether they are mass shootings or a single homicide.

P.I., another member of the S.O.S Bed-Stuy team, led a call and response with all attendees including youth who lived in the area. The refrain was echoed repeatedly throughout Lexington Avenue: “Stop Shooting!” followed by “I want to live!”

NIA Bed-Stuy is grateful for the support from our partner organizations Mother’s Demand Action and Reimagining Intimacy through Social Engagement (RISE) whose staffers came out for the response, as well as all the community members who stood with us. #stopshootingstartliving #bedstuystayalive