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Harlem community to march against gun violence

Last year's Harlem Week festivities at the "A Great Day in Harlem."
Last year’s Harlem Week festivities at the “A Great Day in Harlem.”
Photo by Todd Maisel

The Harlem community will take to the streets on Saturday to raise awareness about the scourge of gun violence in New York City. 

“We’re looking for a chance to bring the community together,” said Gabrielle Lee, an organizer of the event. “Every weekend, we’re hearing about a shooting in the city, and unfortunately that involves a senseless killing in the city.” 

On Saturday, August 13th, neighbors will come out in concert with the New York RoadRunners at 8:30 A.M., which will include both a 5K race, and a 1.5-mile walk that aims to bring attention to the ongoing gun violence epidemic that plagues the streets of the Big Apple — specifically in Black communities in the 5 boroughs.   

“We applaud the efforts of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and Harlem Week to bring much needed community attention to the issue of the epidemic of gun violence throughout our city and beyond by organizing the Anti-Gun Violence Walk,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “We are proud of this important initiative.”

Potential participants can sign up at the New York RoadRunners website, and join other events during “Harlem Week” that will support the local community to promote peace in the area, and support local businesses. 

“When people turn out, and come to say that ‘were not taking this’, we can send a message to those with the guns that were not taking this,” said Lee. 

“This year’s 5k is adding a component to raise awareness about gun violence in the community…We’re not going to stand for this.”

The walk-and-run will feature local performers along the route, and other cultural events from Harlem natives for participants to enjoy. 

“There will be performers and music along the route,” said Lee. “It’s very celebratory.”

The event will address the ongoing plague of shootings in the city, which has seen 988 victims of gun violence so far this year, according to police statistics. That is slightly less than the same time period in 2021, when 1,051 people were shot in the Big Apple. 

For more coverage of Harlem Week, head to amNY.com.

Community leaders joined together to praise the efforts of the Harlem Week organizers, saying they were addressing a dire need.

“Given the disproportionate damage gun violence is having on our communities, the NAACP has advocated for a number of sane, sensible laws which will help to eliminate or significantly reduce the damage and death caused by gun violence,” said Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, the President of the NAACP New York State Conference.

“The more guns, the more shootings, the more deaths. This is an inescapable truth” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat, of New York’s 13th district. 

“In 2006, when Congress wasn’t willing to take on the NRA, Tom Menino and I teamed up with other mayors to create an organization that would – and did, very effectively,” said Mike Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York City. “It’s great to see the next generation of mayors band together and pick up the fight. The more that mayors work together – and stand together in state capitols and Congress – the more able our cities will be to stop crime and save lives.” 

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