We received the following email from Judith Sam, director of youth services at Grand Street Settlement. The social services agency is located just a few steps away from the location in which Raphael Ward was shot and killed:
Classmates and family of Raphael Sadonte Ward, a 16-year-old fatally shot last Friday, will join together to honor the teenager with a basketball tournament and tribute performance showcase, organized by his high school peers and supported by local community organizations and politicians. Immediately after the 6pm showcase and ball tournament to honor a teenager who loved sports, on Friday, January 11, Lower East Side youth will lead the adults – parents, teachers, neighbors, and community – in a memorial procession from the indoor ball court to the makeshift vigil, now crowded with hundreds of lit candles and handmade cards, marking where the tragic incident took place. Details remain unclear surrounding the series of events that led to the fatal shooting of Raphael Sadonte Ward on Friday, January 4, in a convenience store on Columbia Street, across from the housing development where Ward lived with his family. Inez Tucker, a family member of Ward, described the shooting as “senseless” and asked, simply, “when is it going to stop?” In the wake of several high-profile incidents involving gun violence, Tucker and others are left wondering how to prevent further loss of life. Many in the Lower East Side and beyond are calling on elected officials to strengthen gun control laws and to find community-driven solutions to end the cycle of violence. “It’s too easy to get guns on the streets,” noted one parent, who was far from alone in her outrage and joined by an entire community in remembering a young life cut too short.
The event will take place at Grand Street Settlement, 80 Pitt Street, from 6-9 p.m. Click through to see the event flyer.