“Stop the gun violence, put the guns down,” a crowd of 30 people chanted as they stopped traffic and marched down Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 25.
“Save our children!” they shouted: “Save our children now! Education up—put the guns down!”
In a demonstration orchestrated by the nonprofit Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. (Stop Another Violent End) and NYPD Youth Strategies, marchers paraded through Downtown Brooklyn and then made their way to McLaughlin Park, right at the foot of the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge.
The marchers were commemorating Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.’s 7th annual “National Day of Remembrance Walk for Homicide Victims” by making a stop at the McLaughlin Park playground—the site where Unique Smith, a student at Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools, was fatally shot on Sep. 8 after he’d gotten into an argument and fistfight with two boys. One of the boys—dressed in a black hoodie, black pants, and a ski mask—shot Smith in the chest and although EMS was able to transport him to Methodist Hospital, Smith was pronounced dead a short while after arriving.
Officers from the NYPD’s 84th Precinct had escorted marchers to the park. After the crowd passed through the area where Unique Smith was killed, a march leader took the mic to speak about the day’s event. “We are here joining the other boroughs going down to City Hall from Brooklyn—there are those who are walking all the way from the Bronx. This is a national day and today we’ve chosen this spot as one of the locations of a child murdered. Because a 15-year-old who went to school that day and was in the park––as a normal child should be––lost his life in that space over there.
“So, with that being said, we’re asking you to join us in a moment of silence to commemorate his life and then afterwards to always know that we have to fight for our children’s futures.”
In 2007, Congress designated September 25th as the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims in the United States.