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A funeral procession that started in Jamaica and ended in City Hall last week was not meant to mourn the death of a resident — instead it was conducted to send a message to the community to end the senseless violence that has been occurring there over the last few years.
More than two dozen Queens activists followed a hearse in seven cars early in the morning Aug. 25 for the “Tsunami of Peace” rally. Groups of rally members from all five boroughs gathered at the Brooklyn Bridge and walked to the Manhattan side and to City Hall to call for an end to the violence.
Erica Ford, president of the anti-youth violence group I Love my Life, co-coordinated the Queens ride to the bridge and said it was a dramatic way to send a blunt message to the community.
“It gets the word out,” she said while waiting for the ride members to gather at the Rochdale Village shopping center.
Ford noted that several teens and children have become victims of murders this year — including 13-year-old Kevin Miller, who was shot last September when he was caught in the crossfire of an alleged gang shooting blocks from Campus Magnet High School — and more needed to be done on several fronts to curb the killings.
She said the youth and their parents could stop the rise in gang activity by engaging in more community activities and anti-violence seminars. Ford said the rally would help spread this message because of its size.
“Just the fact that we have five boroughs coming together ... it shows something because it’s never been done before,” she said.
The rally also had a boost with celebrity appearances. Hip-hop mogul and Jamaica native Russell Simmons arrived at the bridge and showed his support for the organizers.
Police representatives, who escorted the activists to the destination and helped with the event, said it was a good function to help keep the streets safe.
“We all know that the adults get it, so we have to get [the message] to the kids,” said Inspector Amin Kossem, of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Department.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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