2008-10-17 / Letters

Promises Do Not Fulfill Dreams

Dear Editor,

Promises don't fulfill dreams, but ambition, initiative and hard work do. These three characteristics can be found in the work of Reverend Barrielevia Evans in the Rockaway community. A man, who in just two short years brought tremendous awareness and made a valid difference on this peninsula about the youth gun violence in the Rockaways.

Many of us lived in the Rockaway community for many years; where we have watched the flame of hope become dim over the years. Pastor Evans of Sayahword Ministries touched ground in the Rockaways in 2006. He refueled that flame and became a beacon of light, hope, encouragement, support and has shown outstanding dedication to the young people we've lost and to the concerns of their families. He has done so much in the past two years that people often ask, "Who is that man?" "What does he do?" Pastor Evans does what most families want someone to do. Families want someone to be there. They want someone to be their voice. They want someone to help them to be heard. To say the least, Pastor Evans is always there.

In September 2006, he was there for the family of Mario Young. He even organized a candlelight vigil in Mario Young's name to target youth violence.

In December 2006, he spoke out at a press conference on behalf of Cedric Smalls, who was shot and killed.

In January 2007, he attended a meeting, held to coordinate a list of events that would help target the violence in the Rockaways.

In February 2007, he attended an anti-violence meeting which was held to give parents the opportunity to come out and speak about their concerns.

In May 2008, he was there for the family of Tyrese Johnson, who was shot and killed in Far Rockaway.

In June 2008, he was there when two young men were shot on the boardwalk. Pastor Evans traveled the same night to two hospitals. He went from St. John's Hospital to Jamaica Hospital to visit both of the youths.

On June 21, 2008, Pastor Evans was there for the family of Patrick Hernandez.

He was also there for the families of Latina Bilbro, Brandon Bethea, Stack Bundle, and many other families.

Myesha Battle, a young lady, was shot and spent several days in Jamica Hospital. Pastor Evans visited her in the hospital every single day praying with the family until Myesha Battle fully recovered and was able to go home.

As a resident of the Rockaway community for more than 30 years and a mother of three, I've grown tired of going to meetings just to hear the "good talk." As a parent, I want action. I want to see progress. That is what I see in Pastor Evans. He is always on his feet. He is always on the scene. He is always speaking out. The fight is long from being over and Pastor Evans in on the front line ready to battle for our youth, families and our community.

"Death and life is in the power of the tongue." While Pastor Evans is speaking life into the Rockaway community, there are some who speak death. The promises that are often broken are the ones we make to ourselves. The promise to get involved, be involved, and stay involved as parents. It takes a village to raise a child. Are you apart of the Rockaway village? Are you there?

SABRINA LEE JOHNSON

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