Protest Focuses On Solving Community Gun Violence

Feature

In the wake of the Eric Garner decision, protesters gathered at the Parsons
and Archer train station to show their displeasure. Photo by Jordan Gibbons.

BY JORDAN GIBBONS

The decision last week by a grand jury to not indict the police officer who was involved in the death of Eric Garner sparked protests throughout the City, including a demonstration at the subway station at Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue on Dec. 4.

Kevin Livingston organized the protest with his organization, 100 Suits for 100 Men, to speak out against NYPD brutality and gun violence in the community.

Kevin Livingston and volunteers at 100 Suits for 100 Men organized the protest at the Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue subway station the night after the grand jury decided not  to indict the NYPD officer involved in Eric Gardner’s death.

Kevin Livingston and volunteers at 100 Suits for 100 Men organized the protest at the Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue subway station the night after the grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD officer involved in Eric Gardner’s death. Photo by Jordan Gibbons.

“We all have the right to breathe and we all have a right to be who we are as human beings,” Livingston said. “We are here to tell people right now that we deserve the fair trust of the justice system. Our young people deserve a fair chance.”

He said that if communities of color are not going to get opportunities, they are going to have to go out and take them.

The protest started on the street, above the subway, with more than 15 young adults, parents and others who lost family members to gun violence. They chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” as they marched down the stairs into the station.

They continued chanting in the station before they laid on the ground to say the names of people lost to NYPD violence.

After the lay down, several other protestors shared their individual stories with passers-by who stopped to record or listen to the demonstration.

Photo by Jordan Gibbons.

Photo by Jordan Gibbons.

Monica Singleton, who lost her son to gun violence in 2011, said that gun violence is an issue that needs to be discussed by more people and should not get lost in the discussion about NYPD violence.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whose hand it is by, murder is murder,” she said. “I think there should be more of us out here, doing what we’re doing right now, because there’s strength in numbers.”

She said it is sad that most people do not care until it affects them personally. Her son’s case is still unsolved, but she said she continues to fight everyday.

“I don’t want anyone else’s mother, father, siblings to have to join this club,” she said. “This is the worst club on Earth to be in.”

Shenee Johnson, who lost her son to Black-on-Black crime, said that the community needs to step up and find a solution.

“Gun violence is gun violence, regardless of who is behind that gun,” Johnson said. “We need to use our minds. Let’s get into these law books ourselves and figure out why we can’t get an indictment.”

Kevin Livingston and volunteers at 100 Suits for 100 Men organized the protest at the Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue subway station the night after the grand jury decided not  to indict the NYPD officer involved in Eric Gardner’s death. Photo by Jordan Gibbons.

Kevin Livingston and volunteers at 100 Suits for 100 Men organized the protest at the Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue subway station the night after the grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD officer involved in Eric Gardner’s death. Photo by Jordan Gibbons.

As the dozens of commuters stopped to observe the protest, Livingston asked them to individually step up and make a difference in the lives of young men in the community.

“Even though we have a situation here with the NYPD harming a brother, we are harming our own selves at alarming rates,” Livingston said. “So, I’m going to challenge each one of you who are looking on to us to go back to your own community and mentor somebody who looks like them.”

Livingston made sure to point out that the amount of lives lost to Black-on-Black crime outnumber the lives lost to NYPD violence and the community should focus on fixing that problem at its source.

“Let’s stop the shooting in our own communities, let’s mentor our young people and then we can turn the problem to where it needs to go,” he said. “Let’s keep focus, this is a protest, this is the only protest because we are going to be out here everyday, mentoring our youth.”

Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 123, jgibbons@queenspress.com or @jgibbons2.

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