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Shots Ring Out Near Avenue D Minutes After “Stop the Violence” Meeting Concludes

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6th st shooting

Last night shortly after 9 o'clock, Police responded to an apparent shooting on 6th Street, just east of Avenue D.  Moments later, a sizable crowd gathered in the street, peering into the back door of an ambulance, where a young man was being treated. Police on the scene told residents it was a BB gun shooting – the latest in a series of incidents near Avenue D in recent weeks. But later, many people said they doubted it was a BB gun – that what they heard sounded like gunshots from a real gun. The incident took place right outside a community center in the Wald Houses, where kids inside the gym were playing basketball. 

The shooting happened just minutes after a "stop the violence" community meeting concluded at the East Side Tabernacle Church on 2nd Street. Parents, representatives of elected officials and community organizers had been talking about creating new opportunities for kids: after school programs, mentoring and job training. The gathering was coordinated by a new group, Mothers in Arms. Dereese Huff, president of the Campos Plaza Tenant Association, said the situation "needs to be confronted now because the next kid who's dead could be our own."

During the meeting, several parents spoke passionately about the root causes of the violence. They agreed that the absence of after school programs, the lure of gangs and drugs and the lack of positive role models and parental involvement are all factors. Two representatives of the neighborhood organization, GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), Angel Seda and Anthony Feliciano, helped focus the discussion on concrete solutions. Feliciano, who's also a district leader, called on the many disparate organizations serving the LES to come together, in a coordinated effort to solve the problems. But he also advocated a kind of "community contract," in which the neighborhood takes full responsibility for its future.

The meeting was attended by City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, as well as community liaisons representing State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Dan Squadron, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and U.S, Rep. Nydia Velazquez. Linda Janneh of the Manhattan District Attorney's office, was also there. While underscoring her office's commitment to prosecuting crimes, Janneh said, "As an African American woman raising a kid I am fed up seeing our young people in handcuffs." She pledged to partner with Mothers in Arms on education and mentoring programs. 

Pastor Eladio Villanueva of East Side Tabernacle Church urged the organization to begin holding events as soon as possible. With his help, they're planning a basketball tournament and other activities. The organizers agreed that the first priority is recruitment. They plan to canvass the neighborhood, inviting parents and kids to become members of Mothers in Arms.

If you're interested in finding out more, email: mothersinarms@gmail.com

Or call 212-673-3181.

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