On Tuesday evening, January 9th, 57 community members from S.O.S. Brooklyn, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, S.O.S. Clergy Action Network, YO S.O.S., Legal Hand, the Cure Violence family (including Man Up Inc. USA and G.M.A.C.C.), local business owners, and residents of the neighborhood gathered on the corner of Prospect Place and Schenectady Avenue to denounce gun violence. We are grateful to everyone who came out and stood with us in the freezing cold to say NO to gun violence in our community. The peaceful communal gathering was in response to the incident on Friday, January 5th, where at approximately 11:30pm, a 59-year-old man was shot in a store at the corner of Prospect Place and Schenectady Ave.

The shooting response started out with a small turnout, likely due to the cold weather. However, as the response went on, community members who were walking by began to join the small crowd. By the end of the response, 57 people were standing with S.O.S. to say no to gun violence in our community. Even community members who were not able to stop for the response were engaged by the S.O.S. outreach staff, and received public education materials.

At the beginning of the response, S.O.S. Crown Heights Program Manager David Gaskin called the community together, saying “Why are you not out here? We can’t come outside and enjoy ourselves without gun violence, without bullets ripping through our flesh. Our kids can’t go to school without gunfire erupting, without having to take cover, without them having to run. And now, people can’t go to work inside their small, local business.” After his call to join, S.O.S. Bed-Stuy Program Manager Tiffany engaged the community by saying, “It does not make you less of a man or a woman to walk away from conflict. The reality is, nobody wins when somebody picks up a gun to solve a conflict…the family and the friends of the one who got shot—they pay a price.”

We want to emphasize that this is the first shooting in the Crown Heights catchment in 2018. It is critical that we work together to ensure that there are no other shootings this year. We would like to note that it has been 733 days since there was a shooting in or around Albany Houses and it has been 433 days since there was a shooting in or around Weeksville Gardens.

We hold shooting responses after shootings within our catchment area, to express our concerns and make a statement that shootings and killings are not acceptable in our community. The tone of the shooting response reflected a strong community voice saying NO to shootings and killings in our community. As folks from S.O.S. Brooklyn spoke about the impact of shootings on our community, neighborhood residents heard the message of peace and joined the shooting response. We would like to thank everyone who came out and stood with us against gun violence in our community. #stopshootingstartliving