On Thursday, February 15th, Save Our Streets Brooklyn continued with our volunteer trainings by conducting a “Shooting Response” training.

The group of volunteers spent 30 minutes learning the following:

A shooting response is a key tool in mobilizing the community around gun violence. The Response is similar to a rally. The Response brings people together to react to a specific shooting, to stand together united, and speak out against violence. The goals of the Shooting Response are to make clear that people stand against violence and to not let the act of violence go unmarked. The Response is brief but powerful, loud if possible, serious but not solemn, and open to all. S.O.S. holds a Shooting Response in the S.O.S. catchment area EVERY time there is a shooting in that area.

Seventeen people attended the training at 495 Flatbush Avenue. The training began with Program Manager, David Gaskin and the Save Our Streets Outreach Team explaining to the volunteers in attendance, “What is a shooting response.” Afterwards, David Gaskin moved forward with engaging the group on the goals of a shooting response. The goals of a shooting response are as follows:

  1. To change norms around gun violence.
  2. To denounce gun violence
  3. To show support for the victim, victim’s families, community etc.
  4. To educate the people about gun violence.
  5. To collectively come together as concerned community residents.
  6. To provide resources (on the spot).

David Gaskin and team then discussed Shooting Response Roles with the volunteers. Volunteers paired up with a Save Our Streets team member to learn about each role, because each street team member performs a designated role at each response. Here are the steps taken leading up to, and at the shooting response by the Save Our Streets team:

Pre-planning or organizing of the response:

  1. Resetting our “Count up” signs.
  2. Alerting our community that there was a recent shooting and whether it was fatal or not.
  3. Informing the community of the planned response.

Safety Planning:

  1. Intel gathering to see what the incident was about and to learn of potential retaliations.
  2. Creating a safety plan around responding to the shooting (if it is safe to respond on location or not).
  3. Alerting the local precinct of planned response.

Engagement of passersbys. This is an important role and includes:

  1. Informing all who are passing by of the response, as to the reason for Save Our Streets being out there on the streets.
  2. This person is also letting the passerbys know “What a shooting response Is” and “Who is Save Our Streets!”
  3. Pub ed distribution.
  4. Capturing signatures of those who want to become involved.
  5. Inviting those passing by to stand with us.

Holding an Anti Gun Violence Sign:

  1. Visual! Being SEEN!
  2. Being prepared to hold an anti gun violence sign for a half hour max.
  3. Strategically standing where all those who are passing can see their signs.

Strong Messaging:

  1. This person or people are responsible for delivering a anti-gun violence message that can capture people’s attention, speak to the hearts and minds of those who are standing with us and for demanding a CHANGE!
  2. Getting everyone involved at the response with a chant. Ex. Stop shooting. Start living!
  3. Facilitating the public speaking portion of the response.
  4. Taking photos.

After this portion of the training, the group of volunteers spent twenty minutes creating their own Public Education signs to use during the evening’s shooting response. After creating the signs, the S.O.S volunteers gathered their belongings and hit the streets to denounce the fatal shooting of 26 year old, Theirno Barry who was shot multiple times and killed in front of 220 Montgomery Street. Volunteers and staff marched to the site, so that our volunteers could put into practice everything that learned during the in office training early in the day. Volunteers took to their roles almost immediately, leaving David Gaskin with nothing to do except give the Strong Message.

Volunteers were serious and did not let anyone pass them by without pushing the anti-gun violence message, either by palm card, flyer or by word of mouth. Staff and volunteers were able to draw a big crowd. Which consisted of mostly residents from the Ebbets Field Houses. 220 Montgomery Street is located inside of Ebbets Field, which is known jor a huge volume of gun related, violent incidents. Governor Cuomo’s aide was fatal shot in approximately the same location as Theirno Barry (Bedford Avenue)

The training came to an end at the conclusion of the response. The training ended with a debrief right on the streets of Montgomery. Volunteers stated that they learned, “how to engage people, how to speak to the people and utilize real life experience of gun violence while on the bullhorn (our youth worker) and how to organize a shooting response”.