Calling for Peace


 In the wake of an increase in gun violence, Rock Safe Streets has responded once again. On Wednesday, July 15, the anti-gun violence organization called the community together for a march calling for peace in response to recent shootings in the community and across the city.

According to citywide data from the NYPD, shooting incidents have increased by 130 percent in June alone. Rock Safe Streets, part of Sheltering Arms, is a program designed to “cure violence” through prevention, treatment for trauma, advocacy, education, and pathways to stronger, safer communities for all. Every time there is a shooting, the group takes their voices to the street to try to curb the violence in the community.

About 50 people showed up for the event on Beach 41st Street, with all wearing masks due to coronavirus. In the wake of recent Black Lives Matter protests, some people also wore shirts saying All Black Lives Matter.

Rosalyn Mason of Rock Safe Streets started off the march with a very passionate speech on the recent shootings in the Rockaways. Her speech started, off with “they are watching us! We are looking like savages to those watching us.” Mason expressed her frustration about having to take to the streets once again in response to recent shootings in the community and city, including the shootings of children. Mason spoke of a recent conversation with her daughter, in which her daughter said, “One thing does not have to do with another.” Mason begged to differ saying, “Yes it does!” Mason spoke out against people within the community going against each other and called for respect, standing tall and giving one another the power to move forward.

Many showed up from different organizations including Rockaway Youth Task Force, Fathers In The Hood, the principal from Humanities IV, Councilman Donavan Richards, Bronx Connect, the NYPD and others. As they marched, participants chanted things like “Don’t shoot, live!” Everyone walked to Beach 54th Street, an area where gun violence has been prevalent. There, speeches continued. A representative from Fathers In the Hood spoke passionately, calling for people to make change in their community. The march ended with a prayer. The message was simple: to see change, you must be the change. It starts with me and you. Love is an action word.

Story and Photos By Theresa Racine