Prospect Park

‘No more tears’: A Brooklyn vigil for mass shootings confronts pain close to home

August 6, 2019 Mark Davis
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Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil held Monday night at Grand Army Plaza, where local and congressional leaders spoke out in united voices of anger in pain against the epidemic of gun violence and the reluctance of the Trump administration to confront it.

The vigil came on the heels of a sequence of mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton, Gilroy and Brownsville. Early Monday morning, four people were injured in a shooting at a Crowns Heights vigil.

Empty shoes represent the lives lost to gun violence. Eagle photo by Mark Davis

Between the triumphal arch of Grand Army Plaza and the entrance of Prospect Park, a podium stood surrounded by shoes filled with lit candles — each pair representing a life lost to gun violence.

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At one point, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams asked everyone gathered who had lost a family member to gun violence to raise their hand. “I want people to see who we’re talking about here today,” he said. Hands went up all throughout the crowd.

Jumaane Williams asked everyone in the crowd who had lost a family member to gun violence to raise their hand. Eagle photo by Mark Davis

“I can’t cry no more,” shouted one woman with her hand raised. “I don’t have no more tears left.”

As of Tuesday morning, there have been 253 mass shootings in the U.S. so far in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least 4 people are shot, excluding the shooter.

“More people keep dying for absolutely no reason because this country loves guns,” Williams told the crowd. “Not just some guns — all of the goddamn guns they want in their hands — and they’re killing people.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Eagle photo by Mark Davis

While part of the focus of the vigil was a condemnation of the president’s attitude toward gun violence across the country, many local representatives narrowed in on the recent shootings in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — who, after the Brownsville shooting that killed one and injured 11, immediately termed the incident a mass shooting — pointed out the different reaction from the media and the public when gun violence happens in communities of color. “If the shooting in Brownsville would have happened near Park Avenue and not Park Place, we would have had a different response,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at first declined to use the term “mass shooting” in reference to Brownsville, though he later changed his mind.

Eagle file photo by Mark Davis

Williams, too, spoke of the national tendency to write off mass shootings in nonwhite cities and areas. “You have to mention Crown Heights and Brownsville and Detroit and Cleveland,” he said. “Because what you’re not going to do is pass laws dealing with the mass violence … and leave these families out.”

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Eagle photo by Mark Davis

Those on the congressional level urged the crowd to demonstrate by marching in Washington, D.C., demanding change on the national level.

“It’s not good enough to call it terrorism out here in the public,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said of the mass shootings. “We need to call it terrorism in the statute.”

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  1. Lets put a end to the gun manufactures who profit off of selling these weapons that white skin heads purchase to shoot and kill innocent people I,m a United States of America citizen I,m tired of these mass killings and haters that have the demon in there life