In a cozy space where the teens of YO S.O.S. usually meet, known as the YOasis because of its reputation as a safe space, a small international delegation from the United Nations met with YO S.O.S. staff and participants, and members of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, reACTION, and DCTV on Thursday, July 5th. It was organized by Oxfam Scotland, an international organization that takes a rights-based approach to its development, humanitarian, and campaign work. We began the visit by hearing from David Grimason, from Scotland, who held the room close to tears as he spoke about the death of his son Alistair. Alistair was two years old when he was murdered by a gunman while sleeping in his pram.
The delegation included representatives from Spain, Kenya, and Scotland. Oxfam is currently campaigning at the United Nations to negotiate a stronger arms trade treaty amongst nations. During their time with us we also discussed the parallels between gun violence in Brooklyn neighborhoods, Kenyan villages and Scottish and Turkish cities. Interestingly, all of the people present had had the experience of being told that they don’t how the guns are getting into their respective neighborhoods.
After this gripping dialogue, we walked over to the anti gun violence mural located just blocks away from the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. What a way to spend the day.
Special thank you to: Amy Ellenbogen., Ife Charles, Radel Clause, Dwight Small, Jackie Hilly, Shaina Harriston, Stephanie Skaff, Jamie Livingstone, Marta Muixi Casaldaliga, Julius Arile, and David Grimason.