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Scores Gather With One Message: 'Stop the Violence' [VIDEO]

Dozens march to protest crime and lack of jobs, community resources for public housing residents.

It was a protest that attracted elected officials, throngs of police and residents of the rapidly gentrifying blocks of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

However, it was the young men and women of Whitman, Ingersoll and Farragut Houses that represented the true audience for —as well as the hopelessness and despair at its root.

"People have to remember that this is one of the poorest census tracts in the city," said Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Fort Greene, who with Rev. Mark Taylor of Church of the Open Door, organized the rally. "This is a place that can no longer be ignored."

Sunday's march came in response to a particularly violent month in Fort Greene Houses that saw two young men gunned down not far from buildings in which they spent much of their lives.

It was those killings that brought two young residents of 60 Carlton Ave. in Whitman Houses—a stone's throw away from where lived with his mother—to demonstrate against violence and intimidation.

"The violence has to stop. That's why we're here," said Sharell Barnett, who carried a sign reading, "Don't shoot!" with fellow Whitman Houses resident Shamecca Davis.

The march also highlighted other problems that some said exacerbated the problem of lawlessness at public housing projects like Whitman and Ingersoll. Tops on that list were the continued closure of Whitman Community Center and a promised on-site jobs center. 

Money for the rehabilitation and operation of the community center remained elusive; however, James said negotiations with two private developers to provide funding for services was ongoing. 

Blankocat April 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM
It would be great if a march like this really makes a difference. If only we can get everyone to join in then there wouldn't be all this killing each other
Jenny April 02, 2012 at 03:20 PM
at least it got attention. that's a start.
james April 02, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I agree with the above comments.
Joe Gonzalez April 02, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I was at the rally & I thank City Councilmember Tish James for attending & publicly admitting that it was I, Joe Gonzalez who developed the idea for the peace rally. I was also diappointed that several local pols were absent: US Congressman ED TOWNS, State Senator VELMANETTE MONTGOMERY, State Assemblyman HAKEEM JEFFERIES and District Leader OLA ALIBI were all absent. Also absent was City Council Speaker and Mayoral wannbe Christine Quinn. I hope the citizens can get an explanation from each absent pol as concerns their absence.

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