When the parents of a 3-year-old girl looked down at her shoulder on Friday, March 25, 2022, they saw a bloody hole in it, all because some individual decided to release a bullet from the chamber of a gun, with his non-aiming self. Allegedly aiming at someone he saw as a Riverdale Avenue daycare let out in Brownsville, he fired his weapon.

The outcry was immediate.

In Coney Island, the same week, a 7-year-old girl was also shot. The tone in the streets changes when children are shot. The energy is usually, “Turn yourselves in for your own safety.”

“We are continuing to pray for this baby’s complete and speedy recovery from her physical wounds, and the psychological impact from the shooting,” said former Brooklyn Council Member Inez Barron. “The community is calling for those involved to turn themselves in to the precinct.”

On Friday, March 25, police reported that a gunman fired several bullets as parents and children exited the nearby Creative Minds Day Care in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The 3-year-old girl was hit in the shoulder by a stray bullet as she left the building with her dad. While the NYPD immediately released photos of the suspect in the shooting and the white BMW get-away car, they announced later that the child was in stable condition.

Media reports have stated that the intended victim was a father putting his 2-year-old son in the back seat of his car.

The NYPD told the Amsterdam News that the investigation is ongoing, and no arrest had been made by press time.

Posting on Twitter Saturday morning NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell stated, “This violence won’t be tolerated. Someone knows them & they will be arrested.”

“You know who’s out here carrying guns, you know who’s out here shooting, you know who shot this child,” said Chief of Department Kenneth Corey this weekend.

Since January, an 11-month-old girl in the Bronx, and a 7-year-old girl in Coney Island were shot. Luckily they both survived the physical wounds.

Just returning from his Cure Violence Global training in Trinidad, Man Up. Inc. Founder and Executive Director A.T. Mitchell told the Amsterdam News that he met with community leaders straight from the airport when he heard about the shooting of the toddler in Brownsville.

“I called Crisis Management System teams from all over the city, and they all showed up to the rally 24 hours later, to say that we will not accept the shooting of our children in these streets.”

Mitchell, a national trainer of Cure Violence Global, said that these teams from all five boroughs are each dedicated to resolving the issue of gun violence in their respective areas specifically, but also throughout the entire city in general. 

“Council Member Charles Barron spoke at the rally, and as always he gave us his full support for our Crisis Management Systems.”

“We want our organizations to be fully funded so we can stop the gun violence in our street,” Barron said. 

“As we continue to hold our communities accountable,” ‘Iron’ Mike Perry, True 2 Life’s program manager, told the Amsterdam News, “we need not to forget about the young men who are committing these acts. To be so careless, clearly their trauma is not being addressed.” 

With the tag ‘We Risk our Lives to save Lives!’ Perry is one of the credible messengers with Staten Island’s True 2 Life Crisis Management System. He noted, “Shootings and murders are down in most of the areas where you have CMS sites, we need more funding to cover more ground. There are neighborhoods that are plagued by gun violence who need us.”

“It was an excellent support rally on Saturday,” said Inez Barron. “Most of the participants were members of the Crisis Management Systems functioning in the metropolitan area. They came out to support the family and getting justice and reducing incidents of gun violence. All the people who came to the rally apologized to the family for not being able to make the streets safe for their baby. We said that we are committed to making these streets safe, and everybody should be outraged and actively engaged in making the streets safe—and taking these guys off of the streets.

“The main emphasis is to put the guns down and increase their funding to extend their services beyond their eight hour shifts with compensation. There is a need for community centers in the areas which require them; and programs to reduce violence in state of the art buildings with programs for media, business, entrepreneurs, creative arts, and many other definitive award-winning programs.”

CM Barron says he is working to get the family relocated out of the area by request. While she focuses on nursing her daughter back to full health, Avion Bartlett told a tabloid, “Those people, when they get caught…all they do is release them. People with illegal guns [need] to be put away.”

At the same time the outrage is heard from a community fed up of the reckless gunplay; there are those equally up in arms over Mayor Eric Adams’ solution with his uniformed Neighborhood Safety Teams (NST—five officers and one sergeant) set to vamp on 30 hot precincts as a part of his Blueprint Against Violence, where he announced his anti-gun teams back in January.

It had been a part of his campaign narrative, so folk knew that the 22-year veteran cop would have a patented law enforcement response to inner city issues.

Speaking at a press conference, Mayor Adams said when it comes to people questioning his use of the Neighborhood Street Teams and his anti-gun crime strategies he would be tuning out what he called, “just noise and I’m ignoring silly noise. I’m going to utilize the police department to fight crime and I’m going to show that no one is abusive because that’s what I did for 35 years…

“Many people don’t realize there’s a small number of people that are violent, and will continue to be violent until we stop them. It’s not a large number of people. They are part of the revolving door criminal justice system. They continue to go into our communities, particularly Black and Brown communities, last week a 3-year-old girl was shot…a 7-year-old girl was shot—Black and Brown community, 44 people was shot, over 90% were Black and Brown. So they’re talking about protecting those who carry guns, how about protecting the people who are doing right? How about protecting the 3-year-old girl? The 7-year-old girl? The countless number of Black and Brown people that are shot in the community by the same people that continued to get arrested, come back out and get arrested again.”

CM Barron told the Amsterdam News, “The mayor has deployed the renamed Street Crime Unit – Neighborhood Street Teams, which is the same racist unit which killed Amadou Diallo and Sean bell. You can change the name, but not the traditional behavior.

“Meanwhile, the weekend before he introduced the NST there were 13 shootings. The weekend after, last weekend, there was 29—plus a 3-year-old was shot. More police officers does not solve the problem. We need more focus and funding for groups like AT Mitchell’s Man Up Inc., and other successful Cure Violence and Crisis Management Systems, because then they could work outside of their current catchment areas. They are proven. Crime is down in the areas in which these grassroots organizations work.”

Barron said that when he first came into the City Council in 2001, before he went to the Assembly, “The City budget was $3 billion for 25,000 police officers. Now, as I am back in the City Council, the NYPD has an $11 billion police budget for 35,000 uniform officers, and 15,000 civilian workers. The mayor increased the overtime funds by $76 million, having the NYPD taking $513 million of the city’s entire $1.4 billion budget meant for all the city agencies.”

Barron continued, “In 2020-’21 crime went down; robberies, rapes, assault, grand larceny all went down in an era when de Blasio dismantled the Street Crime Unit. 

“Now crime is up this year with 35,000 cops and an $11 million budget.” Inez Barron stated, “We need a multi-billion defense Anti Poverty Program for the youth, so they can have: start-ups for businesses; workforce development creating millions of dollars for young people during the course of a year. Rather than building more precincts, the city should build more community centers like the Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center, and let the young people be hired to run them.”

Mrs. Barron wasn’t done, “And they should build trade schools for mechanics, engineering, electronics, programs for  building solar panels, plumbing, carpentry, and building homes. We need to address poverty and unemployment, not pay lip service with petty cash.”

Our children are a bi-product of what they see, absorb around them, and what they are exposed to, said LifeCamp Inc. founder activist Erica Ford. The national, but Queens-based activist told the Amsterdam News that the Crisis Management System has a holistic approach.

“Violence is a disease, and the beginning, the middle, and the end to violence is trauma. The only way to resolve these issues is to holistically and comprehensively address the disease. We have to build strong systems that include, but not limited to, healing a troubled recovery, intervention, child placement, education, mentorship, arts and culture, community organizing and advocacy, building etc., etc.”

Ford added, “We can’t take shortcuts. Cure Violence is limited, by its definition. The New York City Crisis Management System is holistic in its approach to address the disease of violence. We need to build a strong system led by the people with the tools they need, at the time they need them. These young people running around with guns…we have to understand that it’s bigger than just the act of shooting the gun. Let us understand that it is only in the Black and Brown community where our children don’t have access to quality education. They don’t have access to recreation, arts and culture. They don’t have access to quality housing. They’re living on an uneven playing field. We have to address it holistically. Violence is a disease, and will continue to spread if we don’t help the people heal and transform communities and individuals. Our children are the bi-product.”

Inez Barron concluded, “It must be recognized that our people still suffer from the vestiges of the trauma of being enslaved—without ever having received acknowledgement of that fact, or any reparations, or adequate mental health resources. As we look to heal ourselves, and help our young people, we have to address all those factors.”

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