2013-06-07 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

By Ilyassha Shivers

This week I have few things I would like to share with you. As an intern I have found my experience and the things that I have seen help shape my outlook on the community and my perspective on life. As our city recovers from one of the most violent weekends to date where more than twenty-five shootings took place I had the pleasure of passing by a memorial celebration for Shawn Plummer at O’Donahue Park Sunday afternoon.

Like many youth today, Shawn was caught in the crossfire a year ago. The case continues to be unsolved. His mother Sharon, family and friends, came out to remember the life of a young man whose life was cut short by senseless violence. Too many families continue to follow the path of Mrs. Plummer. Mothers are left to bury their child while raising their other children. As a father of two young boys and one girl I find the thought of my children growing up in a society where gun violence has become the norm frightening. We must find a way to address the proliferation of illegal guns on the streets. Stop and Frisk and gun buyback programs are all drops in the bucket. We must stop them before they get to the streets. It is time that we start to hold ourselves accountable for our children’s behavior. These young people who are firing illegal guns are our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews. It is time that the community stops being afraid of the children that we have watched grow.

On a lighter note I witnessed a piece of history as the Redfern Tenant Association installed their new board and elected the youngest president to date, Glenn Collins. He brings youth and new energy to one of the toughest housing developments on the peninsula. There was a strong show of support as the community came out to celebrate the new leadership. In attendance were community leaders, representatives from NYCHA, as well as Glenn’s parents, family, and friends. His father Mr. Williams said, “I told Glenn you have to go out on the edge of the limb because that’s where the fruit is. You might get the fruit or you may fall, these are lessons in the fall and a blessing in the fruit.”

There is an African proverb that speaks of a mythical bird, The Sankofa Bird. The bird is moving forward but looking backwards. The proverb says that in order to move ahead we must know what happened in the past. Today we stand on the shoulders of those who struggled and laid a foundation. We take lessons learned in the past to chart a course for the future. Glenn Collins is a part of the future and I wish him all the best.

So what do you think? How can we make the streets safer for our children and loved ones? Send your comments and suggestions to me at shiverswave@gmail.com. Let’s make sure that we have a safe summer and don’t forget to read The Wave.

June is Men’s Health Awareness month. Come out to celebrate and bring awareness to men’s health issues Saturday June 15th from 12- p.m. at O’Donahue Park Beach 17th Street. This is the 1st Annual Men’s Health Awareness Festival.

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