Marching against senseless violence

Marches and rallies are no longer a concept of the past.

In recent months, we have seen marches stop traffic, take over bridges and more across the states and in New York City.

On Saturday May 30, the fifth annual “Not In My Hood” march took over the streets of East Flatbush to spread the message of non-violence. Held by the East Flatbush Village in conjunction with Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, the energy of the crowd demanded an end to the violence in their communities.

“We do not want to live in a society where the only way we feel safe is if there’s five or six officers on every block,” Williams said. “We want to make sure we are funding programs that are dealing with structural issues that have been going on in these communities for generations.”

Leading the march, which started on Tilden and Ralph Avenues, was former gang member Shanduke McPhatter who energized the crowd with messages to end gun violence.

“Violence will not be accepted as a norm in our community,” McPhatter blasted on a microphone. “It doesn’t matter who pulls the trigger. Violence is violence and it’s a public health crisis. Guns Down! Lives Up!”

McPhatter is the founder and executive director of Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Chances Inc., a nonprofit he founded while incarcerated in 2008 and established after his release the following year. The mission of the organization is to reach out to youth following his former path.

“It’s all about awareness and identification in our communities. Most of our communities don’t feel like we care about communities,” McPhatter said. “It seems like most times we only care when the cameras are out and a spotlight is on the community. Letting the community get involved shows that we call care about the same issues.”

Over 200 youth participated in the march that culminated at Flatbush Gardens on Foster, Brooklyn and New York avenues for a health fair.

Reach reporter Alley Olivier at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at aoliv[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow Alley on Twitter @All3Y_B.

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