Six weeks ago, Lower East Side teenager Keith Salgado was murdered in the courtyard of the Campos Plaza public housing complex on East 12th Street. Today his mother, community activists and elected officials gathered in the gymnasium, just a few hundred feet from the scene of the crime. They were there to announce the creation of a new “education and engagement” program inside the Campos Plaza Community Center.
The “Teen Impact Center” will be operated by the Police Athletic League. The organization’s executive director, Alana Sweeney, said “this Impact Center provides a deterrent to youth crime by providing young people with engaging activities in safe a environment during the evening hours.”
Today’s event was organized by State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh. State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez were also in attendance. “We cannot undo the tragedies that have occurred here, but this community is committed to doing everything we can to stop the violence and move forward,” Kavanagh said.
Aida Salgado, Keith’s mother, listened as others spoke. She said today marked one of the first times she’s been out in public since the murder happened. Dereese Huff, Campos Plaza Tenant Association president, read the following statement:
We the family, friends and loved ones of Donavan Keith Salgado thank you for coming out today. This means a lot to us. You all know him. You see him every day all over the Lower East Side – that seven year old in Tompkins Square Park, the teenager zoomimg past you too fast on inline skates, the young man talking and texting to three girls at once. We see him everywhere. His smile as big as his heart and his heart as big as tomorrow stay with us. But we can never forget and we can never condone the senseless violence that took him from us and that continues to tear our city apart. Our children need recreation, education and economic opportunity. We thank our public officials and the PAL for recognizing this. We call on our young people from Smith to Campos and all points between to join together to stop the violence. We recognize the pain of parents who cry for their own lost children: Glenn Wright, Christoper Guerrero, Nelson Pena, David. We thank you for coming out today. We need to see more of you, more often. STOP THE VIOLENCE
An open house for parents and teens who wish to learn more about the program will be held on Friday, December 9th at 5pm at the Campos Plaza Community Center at 611 East 13th Street (between Avenues B and C). The program will be offered free of charge on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings