On a Friday evening, tears were shed, and stories were shared among the group – some strangers, some connected. They shared stories of smiles and good times, but also of loss and the trauma. On Friday, December 6th, community members convened at Beulah UMC Fellowship Hall in Crown Heights for the Third Annual Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Night of Remembrance. The event was established to honor the memory of loved ones lost to gun violence and offer community members a space for healing and support.

Community Clinicians from Neighbors in Action directed a healing circle, offering attendees an opportunity to speak openly about their emotions and the trauma of losing a loved one. Private rooms were made available for one-on-one counseling sessions as well. Reverend Kevin Jones, the community faith leader at Neighbors In Action and creator of the event, invited attendees to grab healing stones on their way out. Inscribed with encouraging words like “love,” “hope,” “faith,” and “joy,”, the stones symbolized positive thoughts that attendees could keep with them when memorializing their loved ones. The event has steadily grown three-fold since its inception in 2017, with over 110 community members attending this year’s.

The impact of the Second Annual S.O.S Night of Remembrance in 2018 inspired the creation of a support group that takes place every third Wednesday of the month, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Neighbors in Action Crown Heights office. Beginning in 2020, a new group will formalize in Bedford Stuyvesant and will meet the first Monday of each month, from 6:30 – 8:30pm, at 260 Quincy Street. If you would like to join or have questions, please reach out to Reverend Kevin Jones at kjones@neighborsinaction.org.

Neighbors in Action is grateful for the support from partners organizations that continue to offer support at the event, including: Reimagining Intimacy through Social Engagement (RISE), Mom’s Demand Action, and Man Up Inc. We’d also like to thank the Honorable Council Member Laurie Cumbo for attending and offering words of support.