Calls for vigilance among parents

Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Guyanese-born Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud, who represents the 59th Assembly District in Brooklyn, is calling on parents to keep a watchful eye on their children. “Parents must be vigilant as gun violence grows to epidemic proportions in the New York area,” said the politician.

Referring to her immigrant parents who ensured that she and her siblings were at all times under supervision when they were growing up, Persaud, a former 69th Precinct Community Council president in Canarsie, cautioned parents who move to a better neighborhood for the safety of their kids, but in many cases abandon their responsibility.

“I think people need to remember the roots from which they came and how they were brought up. Too often I hear parents say I want a better life for my children, but when they move to a safer community, they let their children go, forgetting the reason they moved from their old neighborhood,” said Persaud.

“Many say, I am working two jobs, I am busy, I don’t have the time, neglecting their children. Meanwhile, minors bring friends from the previous troubled neighborhood and influence destructive behaviors,” said the assemblywoman.

Persaud, who grew up in Georgetown, Guyana and came to the U.S. at the age of 17, served as a volunteer for “I Have A Dream,” a program that helps inner city kids. “You must remember that parenting is your responsibility and if you want your child to be safe, the practice should begin in the home,” added Persaud who recalled that slain Police Officer Randolph Holder lived in her Assembly district.

“I never knew Officer Holder personally, but he lived close to my District Office at 58th Street and Avenue O in Brooklyn. And it so happened I attended a BBQ last summer hosted by his relatives. Everyone who crossed paths with Officer Holder, spoke very highly of him,” she said.

“It is a tragedy when someone who was so impassionate, dies while fighting for the safety of our community. Police officers take an oath to protect and serve us, but often times they are perceived the wrong way,” added Persaud.

With the high rate of gun violence being perpetrated by youth, such as the 17-year-old who shot and killed his peer on Flatbush extension recently, Persaud, a graduate of the NYPD Citizens Police Academy and the New York City Office of Emergency Management-Community Emergency Response Team, said training helped her to understand what officers face daily.

“Not all police officers are law-abiding, there are ‘bad apples’ in the force, like in every profession, and all walks of life,” said the politician, who sees a correlation between the way cops are viewed and the rise in violence.

“Currently, youths think it is okay to break the law without fear or ramification because the hands of the police are tied, so to speak. Police officers are not as aggressive as they were because of the backlash they will receive.”

“I have seen warnings of flashing police lights, in the neighborhood, and youngsters would create an unlawful situation, thinking that the police wouldn’t stop them.”

Persaud said she received a letter from the National Rifle Association seeking support for gun provisions and warned if she did not support the measure the association would ask its members not to support her.

“I am not against anyone who has the right to carry a legal weapon, I am against weapons that are coming across state lines illegally and getting into the hands of criminals, and people who have a history of domestic violence, and others who buy guns without a background check,” said Persaud who serves in organizations fighting domestic violence.

Persaud said a way must be found to prevent people from driving down-south, buying a cache of guns and driving back to New York without fear. “A registry must be created to record those who buy guns often, and someone to follow-through with these cases,” she suggested.

“Criminals often say their rights are being violated, but by doing these checks, we are securing this entire nation,” argues the member of Community Action Board of the New York City Department of Youth.

Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud, chairperson of the Neighborhood Advisory Board – District 1, hopes to occupy the seat left vacant by Senator John Sampson, in the 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn.

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