When confronted with the violence, oppression, and unnecessary hatred of the many shootings that have taken place across our nation this summer, it is easy to feel inconsequential in the face of the bigger picture. When we try to contemplate the horror of 49 members of the LGBTQIA+ community gunned down in Orlando, imagine the helplessness of families of color as their young men are killed, or find the best way to keep communities and the officers sworn to protect them safe, it’s too much. We feel as though there is nothing we can do to fight the enormity of all of this as just one person. That’s normal. But Grand St. Settlement wants to remind you that many of the world’s most significant achievements and changes were done by regular people who decided that inaction was simply unacceptable.
Today, we held a moment of silence that united all 28 of our neighborhood locations, from the Lower East Side across the Williamsburg Bridge and throughout Brooklyn. The call for reflection on the events of recent weeks, remembrance of victims of prejudiced violence, and consideration of how we can support change came from our staff.
This moment of solidarity and unity stems from our mission to advocate for all New Yorkers and their communities. We now partner with local police precincts in all 7 of the neighborhoods where we have community centers and programming. By introducing officers and the families they are charged with keeping safe, we open a dialogue of mutual understanding and respect.
Our families, especially our young men of color, are deeply affected by the violence, racism, and prejudice still prevalent in our city. Together, we can work to dismantle these obstacles to life, liberty, and happiness. Join us and take action.
What you can do today, right now: Listen. Witness. Act.
“The Urban League movement focuses to build inclusive communities that not only recognize African American humanity, but maximize the individual and collective contributions of all in our society.”
“But what I can say is that all of us, as Americans, should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”
– President Barack Obama, quoted in the New York Times
“We have a problem in this country and in this city, a problem we have inherited, no doubt a stain upon our nation, of racism and division. In this city, we aspire to a different, a better relationship between police and community. We believe it can happen.”
– Mayor Bill DeBlasio, quoted in the New York Post