NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An anti-violence fair was held Friday in Harlem in the same city housing complex where a little boy was killed in March.
The event had the feel of a block party, with music and dancing, but it offered crucial information about resources for the community.READ MORE: Judith Thomas, 75, Speaks Out After Random Sucker Punch Attack: ‘It Seems Like We’re Going Back To The Bad Old Days”
Behind the levity, there was a very serious message.
“We have to show the community there is hope,” said Jackie Rowe-Adams with Harlem Mothers Save. “We got to stop the violence, whether it’s domestic violence, gun violence.”
The mayor’s Action Plan For Neighborhood Safety network hosted the Anti-Violence Services Fair at NYCHA‘s St. Nicholas Houses.
It comes after 10-year-old Ayden Wolfe was beaten to death there in March, allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend.
“We had the tragedy of Ayden, but we’ve also had tragedies where, last year, a young lady’s body was found in this building and she had been dead for months. People have disconnected from their neighbors,” said Tyrone Ball, St. Nicholas Houses Tenant Association president.READ MORE: Father ‘Torn Up’ Over Death Of 10-Year-Old Harlem Boy Ayden Wolfe
The fair brought together multiple organizations and agencies to let residents and other New Yorkers know help is available.
“Social supports, from helping individuals who need rent arrears, cash assistance, public benefits, to mental health, counseling, family assistance, intervention programs for young people,” said Rodny Carvajal, with the mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
One of those programs is the nonprofit Street Corner Resources, which helps combat gun and gang violence. It’s one of many groups eager to make a difference.
“I encourage young people, even at this difficult time, to find one of the Cure Violence sites or other programs that they can become involved in,” Street Corner Resources founder Iesha Sekou told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
“We have to pay more attention to our kids. We have to pay more attention to our families,” Rowe-Adams said.
“It’s going to take a collaborative effort to stop this violence because it is a mindset that we have to change. That’s what makes our job so difficult,” said Stephanie McGraw, founder of We All Really Matter.MORE NEWS: Caught On Video: Shootout On Eighth Avenue In Harlem
The mayor’s office says it plans to ramp up holding anti-violence fairs to respond to crime not only in Harlem but across the city.