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‘Save Our Sons and Sisters’: Anti-gun violence initiative launched by Bronx delegation

Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson and Bronx DA Darcel Clark announce 'Save Our Sons & Sisters' a community driven anti-gun violence initiative. (Alex Mitchell)

Bronx politicians and community organizations have launched a locally driven initiative aimed at stopping gun and street violence in the wake of both the borough and city’s most violent weeks in recent memory.

Called “Save Our Sons and Sisters” (SOS), the initiative focuses on a continuous series of anti-gun marches paired with community-held violence interruption meetings and outreach. The strategy aims to not only reduce Bronx crime but also raise awareness on the severity of the situation.

Alongside local groups that specialize in violence interruption, south Bronx Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark introduced SOS this morning near the scene of a recent fatal shooting of a father with his young daughter on E. 170th and Sheridan Avenue, each calling for meaningful change in the Bronx.

SOS is going to begin with a march down Morris Avenue beginning at Mott Playground down to Claremont Park at 5 p.m. this Thursday, passing through “right in the heart of it all,” according to Clark, meaning the epicenter Bronx’s recent gun violence peak.

A youth summit organized by Jacobi Hospital’s “Stand Up To Violence” program will take place on Friday while more “out on the block” styles of outreach are also expect to come in the near future for the Bronx.

Eve Hendricks, the mother of fatally shot 17-year-old Brandon Hendricks spoke to a charged crowd this morning, calling on more safe havens and proper community space for the city’s youth — something that the mother of slain 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz had also advocated for.

Eve Hendricks, mother of murdered 17-year-old Brandon Hendricks speaks during the introduction of SOS. (Alex Mitchell)

“Staying inside won’t bring my son back,” she told the Bronx Times after the rally, adding that “being out here will and can make a difference in someone’s life.”

The distraught mother said the most surreal of losing Brandon has been not waking him up or asking him what he wanted for dinner each day, though Hendricks says that she can not hide behind her grief.

“A lot of parents, mothers, fathers, are going the same thing I’m going through, we have to speak out,” Hendricks said.

Clark blamed the recent spike in criminal violence on coronavirus in part, saying that people who have been in confinement are now out “settling score new and old,” adding that job loss and a lack of recreational activities for youth are other culprits in the crime wave.

She also charged that a “no snitch culture” has factored into so many shootings and other assaults in recent weeks.

“It’s not snitching it’s caring, that’s what we need people to do,” Clark told the press following the SOS announcement.

This newly formed community pushback against violence is one that will need the intervention of law enforcement, the DA believes.

“We need the police to help us do this work,” the Clack said, adding, “there are good cops out there, the bad ones, we’ve got things for them.”

Clark continued, expressing a necessity for the “good cops: that go after violent criminals to be able to so in an efficient manner.

“We need the police to be able to do their job…we’re talking about shootings and murders, the police are going after those kind of people, you think they’re going to go willingly?” she said.

While much of the supporting delegation was unable to attend, SOS was also supported by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Jose. E Serrano, Senators Jose M. Serrano and Luis Sepulveda along with Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner in addition to Bronx and Manhattan councilwoman Diana Ayala.

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