On Tuesday evening, at Plenty Paradise along the strip on Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn several high powered business leaders, community leaders, noted elected officials, judges, top attorneys, clergy and the Brooklyn police commanding officer were all at one location to discuss what has marred j’ourvert for too long.
The event was a follow up to the efforts of members of the 67th Precinct / Clergy Council who are knocking on the doors of some gang members to speak to them about the dangers of gun violence and in conjunction with that effort, there was the celebration marking the 15th anniversary memorial of the late New York City Councilman James E. Davis, one who strongly denounced gun-violence in the community.
The organizer of the event, James’ brother, Geoffrey Davis, reminded the audience that j’ouvert was a cultural event based on the history and survival of people. “We want the young people to understand the history of this and know that it is a celebration, not one for killing,” Geoffrey noted.
Speaking also was Congressman Hakeem Jefferies who asked that j’ouvert be not marred by violence as the community looks forward to another one. “Make sure it does not occur because this is a great legacy for us and for the late James E. Davis,” the congressman who represents the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn stated. His colleague, Congresswoman of the 9th District, Yvette Clarke, also pleaded for a peaceful j’ouvert. “Let us try to find the space to make it a peaceful environment and not one to settle scores…true gun reform is needed in the U.S.,” Clarke said.
Other political leaders all asked for peace as the community prepares for the Labor Day celebration, state Assembly Member, Walter T. Mosley, for the 57th Assembly District also commented on the importance of teaching the young people about the cultural aspect of j’ouvert “It is not a time to commit crime. This is in the name of James E. Davis, who believed in non-violence. It is about saving lives not killing.” Mosley asked that j’ouvert be a non-tarnished event. New Assistant Chief and Commanding Officer for Brooklyn South, Brian Conroy was also on hand, he asked that everyone work together to make the celebration a peaceful one. “Let’s find ways to resolve the conflicts,” the commanding officer noted.
Judge Rosemarie Montalbana speaking also called for calm as the celebration takes place, “lets move in with peace. It is important to spread the right energy as we move toward the Labor Day,” she remarked. President of J’Ouvert International, Yvette Renee plea for a rebirth of j’ouvert in Brooklyn. Ms. Renee asked that the j’ouvert celebration not be taken in a negative perspective, but as an economic opportunity. “Lets us make Brooklyn a mecca of j’ouvert Renee suggested. Other business and community leaders all denounced the violence that has plagued j’ouvert and each asked that j’ouvert be a non-violent celebration.
Some up-coming young artistes used their talents and skills in poetry, song and comedy to send positive messages to the young people to state clearly that the celebration is one of culture and not one for violence. Performers were Karen Yelverton, DJ Nore, David Roberts and Majah Hype.