“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart
and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”

-Julius Lester

On March 14th, students will be participating in nationwide walkout at 10 am to acknowledge the lives lost in the Florida shooting and the way that gun violence is impacting schools and neighborhoods. The #ENOUGH national School Walkout is organized by the Women’s March Youth Empower group. You can read their toolkit here to learn more about the action.

The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center will be supporting tomorrow’s actions across Brooklyn. We want to continue building momentum and an inclusive platform for all neighborhood residents to advocate for safer schools and communities. To this end, we have noted some things for students, parents and educators to think about before, during, and after the school walkout tomorrow. See you out there!

 

1. Recognize Lives Lost in NYC: During the March 14th walk out, create a meaningful way to acknowledge the lives lost at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida as well as other fatal shootings across the country. Acknowledge the 100 non-fatal and fatal shootings that have happened since January 2018 in New York City and the 96 fatal shootings that happen across United States on an average day.  

2. Think About Healing and Safety for All Members of the Community: Organize to stop the cycle of violence by embracing those most impacted by gun violence and providing spaces to restore relationships and community. Use “we” language rather than “us vs them” language to frame this as a community effort that involves all community members rather than an attempt to push some out.

3. Say It Out Loud: Customize chants, jams and demands to reflect the context and needs of our local community. Some suggested musical walk-out actions are: bucket drumming with chants, singalongs, marching drumming + demands. Examples of chants and rhymes can be found in the Liberation Drum Circles – #ENOUGH NationalSchoolWalkout Toolkit.

4. Civic Engagement:  Consider including a voter registration drive during your walkout for high school seniors who will be 18 years of age before the next election, or do it as a follow up event! Learn and advocate for laws that can slow the supply of guns into our communities. Do a teach-in using resources from The Arc: Advocacy 101 and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

5. Learn About Different Kinds of Gun Violence: Educate yourself about the different ways that people are harmed by gun violence including suicide, domestic violence, accidental shootings, community violence, and mass shootings. Consider the effects of chronic violence on residents of neighborhoods where there is a disproportionate amount of gun violence.

6. Learn About Contributing Factors:  Learn about the factors that contribute to environments where gun violence is persistent and work to ameliorate those conditions.These can include:

  • Lack of effective resources in a neighborhood, including failing schools, inadequate and unsafe housing, excessive policing and criminalization. 
  • Poverty, inequity, lack of opportunity
  • Fear for personal safety
  • Isolation
  • Easy access to weapons
  • Recent experience of violence
  • Neighborhoods where there is a high rate of trauma and people are affected by structural and institutional racism

7. Raise Money: Ask your friends and family members to put their dollars towards supporting Black and POC youth organizing for safer schools for everyone. Learn more at http://crownheights.org/give/.

8. Advocate for more restorative approaches in schools and the criminal justice system that both hold people accountable for what we’ve done and have the harmed parties heal.  Point to great leaders and local S.O.S. Violence Interrupters as examples of individuals who have caused harm but grown and become positive community leaders.

 

For more information check out the websites of these anti-violence organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, The Trace, Cure Violence,  Mayors Office to Prevent Gun Violence, John Jay Research and Evaluation Center, and Department of Health and Mental Health, and the National Network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs.

Please help us improve this list and change the norms and conditions that exist that allow violence to persist.

Follow us on social media, @SOS_Brooklyn and @youthorganizing, sign up to volunteer or donate!