Carib American joins battle against gun violence

Young attendees at OFA Gun Violence Prevention activity in Cambria Heights.
Photo by Laura Andrews

A first generation Caribbean American is not preoccupied with the Islamist rebels recent or largest attacks. Nor is he directing his attention to the U.S. military failed attempt to capture hostages in Yemen, due to a delayed effort. Troubling to the Haitian American is the spike in deaths caused by gun violence throughout the U.S. Rather than attend one of the Organizing for Action (OFA) Stand with Women, Health Care, Expanding Equality, Economic Opportunity, Comprehensive Immigration Reform or Climate Change events, in his borough of Queens, Steven Cidelca decided to stay in his hometown of Cambria Heights, N.Y. and focus on an issue impacting his middle-class community, which is gun violence.

Attending one of his first OFA Gun Violence Prevention activities in the predominantly Caribbean community of Cambria Heights, Cidelca concurs with the grassroots based OFA and its more than 250 chapters that there needs to be an immediate action by Congress on the issue of gun violence prevention,

Cidelca expressed that people need to be educated on gun violence prevention and background checks, as well as matters like closing the No-fly loophole, which places restrictions in one area yet opens the door to individuals in this category to enter a store and purchase a gun. “What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon,” President Barack Obama has stated.

Cidelca sees a victory in limited access to firearms. “The innocent are too often subjected to a casualty,” said Cidelca, at the OFA Gun Violence Prevention session in Cambria Heights, Queens. “Children sometimes find a gun in the comfort of their home and cause harm,” he said, during an interview. “This is the tragedy of gun violence,” Cidelca added. “Once you are holding a gun, you are holding a life,” he said, as OFA supporters held signs advocating for restricting use of guns in the U.S.

The group of mostly young-interested supporters expressed their disdain for the continuous confrontations with real-life tragic incidents caused by the use of illegal guns. Cidelca, a long-time fashion photographer, believes that “ignorance of the use of guns will always risk someone’s life.”

Despite the steady stream of legislation to reduce the proliferation of guns, in the U.S., due to blockage by Congress, President Obama vows to be vigilant in his efforts on the issue and determined to right the wrongs in proceeding with laws to prevent open access to acquisition to guns.

“No law or set of laws will end all acts of gun violence but if even one life can be saved, there’s work to be done,” President Obama has stated. The president, however, added, “There is more we can do to prevent gun violence – we are going to keep doing our part.”

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