2011-01-21 / Top Stories

'Chaos Or Community' Conference

Gun Buy-Back Plan On The Agenda

Councilman James Sanders holds a weapon that was turned in at a recent Rockaway gun buy-back program. Councilman James Sanders holds a weapon that was turned in at a recent Rockaway gun buy-back program. “To celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to celebrate a commitment to community, organization, and non-violent civic action,” says City Councilman James Sanders Jr.

It was in that spirit of activism and pacifism, says Sanders, that he hosted the second annual “Chaos or Community Conference,” on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17.

The conference provided training and organizational tips to novices and experts alike who are or wish to become more involved in non-profit work, volunteerism, or community activism in their area.

The conference kicked off with an appeal by both the Councilman and our Congressman, Gregory Meeks, to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown to host another gun buy-back program in Southeast Queens, specifically in Rockaway.

Members of Clergy United for Community Empowerment Inc., Mothers Against Guns and The New Progressive Democratic Club joined together on stage at the Birch Family Center in Springfield Gardens to implore the City to institute another gun buy-back after the enormous success of the first, which removed more than 900 guns from the streets of both Rockaway and several mainland communities.

“A little more than a week ago, in Tucson, Arizona, we watched in horror as Dr. King’s message fell on deaf ears. An angry, violent young man, using a gun he purchased legally, committed six murders while injuring many others, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in a terrible act of violence,” said Councilman Sanders. “We are here today to serve as a counterpoint to that violence; to lift each other up as a community; to find ways to better ourselves through training, education and practice; to create a better world for our children than the one we came into. “

We cannot and will not allow the message of Dr. King to fade into a violent, chaotic night,” the Councilman added.

“We will organize and work together to usher in a new morning of hope and peace for our community.”

The conference broke into side sessions that catered to Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced level community activists, as well as a special break-out panel for faith-based initiatives.

Well over 100 members of the community attended the conference.

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