My name is Ruby-Beth and I am the Case Manager for Y.O. S.O.S.
I am coming to this role with excitement because I believe in the power of young people and young people’s voices to make changes in their neighborhoods and in the world. I think the idea of a youth led anti-violence movement is something that every community dealing with violence and community harm could benefit from.
I grew up in a faith-based community dedicated to non-violence and anti-violence activism. In the past I have worked one on one with youth participants acting as an advocate within organizations and their surrounding communities. Through my work with young people I gained a deep understanding for the need for youth-driven organizations.
One of the common conversations I have had with my neighbors with regards to the health of the neighborhood is the existence of gun violence and the presence of continued harm. Since last spring when I moved to Crown Heights I have been struck by how deeply people love Crown Heights and their desire to continue to preserve the neighborhood as a positive center for community power and stewardship.
I grew up in a community that taught me a lot about non-violence and how to be an active non-violent citizen even when encountering potentially violent situations. I am from Atlanta, GA and I grew up about a 5 minute drive from the home that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in. I took many school field trips to his home, the Church he preached in and the streets he marched. I learned about his philosophy of non-violence social change and how he knew that violence only breeds violence. The most important things that my teachers taught me, however, was not just about Martin Luther King Jr’s philosophy. My teachers explained that in order for a non-violent movement to work it takes so many people. It takes people whose names are never widely known and who don’t receive as much attention as Martin did. It takes families and communities that are determined to make a difference working together to create change. The other thing that I was told time and again was that it takes young people to build movements.
If we truly want to eradicate gun violence in the Crown Heights community it is going to take young people coming together. I am invested in helping young folks in the Crown Heights community shape their neighborhood into a place where they can grow up safely.