On the evening of Wednesday, October 15, 2019, staff from Neighbors in Action (NIA) and Save Our Streets (S.O.S) Brooklyn rallied with residents of Crown Heights across the street from the scene of a mass shooting that left four men dead and five others gravely injured. The tragedy left many in the neighborhood shaken, but the resilience and resolve of the community was displayed as approximately 75 people joined the response to denounce violence and preach peace.

The group’s message was direct but powerful: “DON’T SHOOT. I WANT TO LIVE!” Leaders from S.O.S. Brooklyn Community Safety team led the event with inspiring words, while their colleagues distributed informational fliers and palm cards to passers-by. The tone was somber. Neighbors in Action faith leader Reverend Jones was joined by longstanding and well-known clergy members from throughout Brooklyn to conduct prayer vigils and offer words of support to the families of the victims. Reverend Jones closed out with an impassioned speech imploring attendees to realize that violence not only traumatizes people, it tears apart the community as a whole. Community members placed their hands on the shoulders of those next to them during the final prayer, some complete strangers. “We are all part of God’s grand design,” Reverend Jones reflected, “and we need to realign.”

Neighbors in Action thanks the numerous community partners in the fight against gun violence who attended the event, including Moms Demand Action, as well as other organizations in the Cure Violence network such as Brownsville In, Violence Out (BIVO); Brownsville Think Tank Matters (BTTM) Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (GMACC); and Life Camp, Inc.