Enraged parents rallied Sunday afternoon in Lower Manhattan for an immediate solution to gun violence, just days after an armed suspect fled into a Brooklyn school in hopes of evading police, signaling a boiling point of what they call a crime wave.
Under the pouring rainfall and upon an erected stage on the sidewalk outside City Hall Park on Broadway and Barclay Street, the NYC School Safety Coalition — a collection of parents, families, religious leaders, and community leaders — assembled mothers and fathers to decry what they feel is the sorry state of the city. When an armed suspect entered a Brooklyn school on Oct. 8 and alarmed parents, teachers and students alike, many gathered non Sunday said that was the final straw.
“An individual decides he’s gonna run inside the school building, with a gun, because he’s trying to get away from the craziness that he just committed on the street outside,” Brooklyn community activist Tony Herbert said.
According to police sources, Naijee Calliste, a 21-year-old male was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and criminal possession of a weapon. But to those who have lost children to gun violence, this incident showcases the dangers youth are facing as a result of guns.
Calling the Big Apple the wild west, the parents of children who were murdered due to firearm tragedy. The mother and father of 22-year-old Mamadou Bah Jr. became emotional while reiterating their struggle as they mourn the loss of their son, a vicim of gun violence.
“They come in front of my house shooting,” said Mamadou Bah Sr,.”I’m begging the City Council. The man, the governor, the community. I hope nobody’s going to have the life I’m having right now.”
Mother of Mamadou Bah Jr Halimata Bah during the speech, falling into the arms of a fellow mother.
Eve Hendricks also lost her son Brandon Hendricks to a hail of bullets. A promising young basketball athlete, Hendricks can vividly recall the last moments she saw her son alive.
“Today makes 468 days [since] Sunday, June 29, 2020. My son told me ‘Mom, I will see you later.’ On June 20, last year, my son left home for a barbecue and did not return. He was killed. He was murdered senselessly,” Hendricks said. “We need a savior.”
Speaker after speaker asked why so many teenagers have fallen to gun violence unabated? Those at the rally called for action to be taken to help prevent gang violence from rising.
“Unsafe schools. Unsafe streets. School safety agents continue doing their jobs. It’s about time the politicians began doing their jobs.” said Hank Sheinkopf, a public relations specialist.
Disclosure: Sheinkopf has a regular column with PoliticsNY, an affiliate of amNewYork Metro.