Sean Bell’s fiancee pointed to the need in southeast Queens for community events and programs during an event to remember Bell over the weekend.
The daylong program began with a blessing before a collection of 50 motorcycles, cars and SUVs traveled from Baisley Pond Park to Sean Bell Way in South Jamaica, where the bridegroom was killed, and then to Nassau Knolls Cemetery, where he was buried.
“It means so much to my family, to my daughters. It’s a beautiful thing for southeast Queens,” said Nicole Paultre-Bell, who had been slated to wed Bell hours after he died.
After the “Ride 4 Justice,” participants returned to Rockaway Boulevard and 150th Street, where the sixth annual event took place.
Paultre-Bell’s organization, When It’s Real, It’s Forever, presented the festivities, which included face painting and blow-up slides, with help from sponsors.
“We couldn’t do this without the community,” she said.
But the area could benefit from more events and services, Paultre-Bell believes.
Organizations and programs, which once served South Jamaica and beyond, no longer exist or are struggling for funding, she said.
And Saturday’s event also served to open dialogue about police relations.
“The kids, they have no idea about the tragedy behind the name Sean Bell,” she said.
The mother of two said she sometimes has to explain how Bell died to children who were not born or too young at the time to remember.
“We want the kids to know that you can trust the police because when you need help, you should talk to a police officer, but we also want them to know we are working on building relationships with the police,” Paultre-Bell said.
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at timesledge
©2013 Community News Group
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