2001-10-27 / Columnists

From the G-Man

By Gary G. Toms

Hey people! It is a well-known fact that I am an equal opportunity ass-kicker, and this week, as much as I hate to do it, I’m going to have to call out certain people from the eastern section of the peninsula. I want to place particular emphasis on the Redfern, Edgemere, Arverne, and Hammel Housing Development residents because they are sleeping on some very serious situations that are affecting their areas.

Let’s start with a meeting I attended last week at Junior High School 198, located at 365 Beach 56 Street. The Far Rockaway chapter of the NAACP conducted the meeting, and the purpose of the meeting was to update the community on the latest developments with regard to a number of cases and proposals that the national organization is actively pursuing.

I’m not going to go into detail about the agenda or what was discussed, but I will say the information that Ed Williams, President of the Far Rockaway chapter, provided was quite alarming and disturbing. There are some very serious situations developing, at the local and national level, within the lower income communities, and we need to be informed as to what is going on. Sadly, many people from the aforementioned areas did not show up for this meeting. There were only 10 people at the NAACP meeting, and that is a disgrace!

Everybody wants to complain about how the east end of Rockaway sucks, but how much complaining can you do if you don’t attend NAACP, Community School Board, Community Board, Tenant Association, Parent-Teacher, or the 100 and 101 Precinct Community Council meetings. Give me a break!

Listen up Black folks! In the last week and a half alone, there have been seven shootings in eight days in the various housing developments. Edgemere tops them all and is quickly earning the reputation of being the "shoot’em up" section of Queens. There are too many good people who live in Edgemere, and other "projects", that don’t deserve to be grouped with these bullet-toting boneheads. It’s because of a few "Joe Rockheads" who want to play gangster or sniper that our communities, and status as Black people, are under siege. Now is the time for us to step up and say we’ve had enough. These gangsta-fools think they are tough, but I’m here to let them know that no one is tougher than a brother with pen and connections at the state and local level.

Many may be asking, "Well, what can I do to change anything?" You can start by dropping dime on anyone that you know is running around trigger-happy. If you know somebody is doing dirt in the community, be willing to "tell" on their ass! You can start by meeting with teachers, community relations’ personnel from area precincts, church or civic organizations, special coalitions like PRYSE, and elected officials or their representatives.

We have an election coming up in a little more than a week. Black people, we cannot afford to sit at home on Election Day. It’s bad enough we already have a reputation for not voting, and we have to fight to destroy this myth. To hell with what happened in Florida during the Presidential election. Our concern is now. The only method of initiating change in our community is with the power of the vote, so use it! "All My Children", "The Young and the Restless", "Jeopardy", "Martin" and "Wheel of Fortune" can wait when it comes to Election Day.

I’m going to give you all a chance to make it up to The G-man. The NAACP meetings are held every third Thursday of the month at J.H.S. 198. I want as many of you as possible to come down and gain some valuable knowledge. I also want you to reach out to the local precincts, school administrators and tenant associations to find out when they have community meetings. Please!

I’m sick of the gunplay in our community. I’m sick of hearing people from outside our community refer to us as "savages". We can no longer tolerate or cower to those who think they can run around disrespecting our neighborhoods. If we don’t take a stand now, we are going to be sorry, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

To those from the Black community who hate what I’m putting out right now, I say go ahead and hate the messenger, but don’t hate the message. For the sake of our communities, our culture and our kids…let’s step it up Black people.

See you next week!

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