After Brownsville and Crown Heights shootings, state steers $200k to local anti-gun violence groups

“That is a necessary contribution — not a sufficient contribution.”

August 9, 2019 Kelly Mena
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Following two weeks of increased gun violence in Central Brooklyn, local elected officials on Friday promised $200,000 in funding for community-based organizations.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, whose district was the site of a recent shooting that left four people injured in Crown Heights, announced allocation of funding for violence prevention to six community groups. The money will come from SNUG, a state program supported by funds previously secured in the 2020 state budget.

The funding is the first from the state to target anti-gun violence efforts in the borough. Homicides in Crown Heights’ 77th Precinct have gone up 500 percent compared to last year. Six people have been murdered in the precinct so far this year, as opposed to just one through the same period in 2018, according to NYPD stats. Shootings in the precinct have also doubled this year.

“That is a necessary contribution — not a sufficient contribution,” said Myrie at a press conference on Friday afternoon. “This is $200,000 more than we got last year, or ever … The state has a responsibility to respond to gun violence in our communities as if it were an epidemic, an outbreak and a disaster.”

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The funding comes nearly two weeks after a mass shooting in Brownsville left one dead and 11 others injured.

The Brownsville shooting resulted in potentially the most injuries of any New York City shooting since 2013, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks mass shootings nationwide.

The incident launched the Brownsville Rapid Response Coalition, which tackled the aftermath on the ground through community efforts. However, groups in the coalition say if they are to prevent future tragedies, their efforts need financial backing — especially in communities of color.

“The community is angry, the community is roaring because we are fighting with peanuts,” said Anthony Newels, a member of Brownsville In, Violence Out, at Friday’s press conference. “We need resources, we need funding and [right now] we don’t have anything.”

Anthony Newels (right), member of Bronwsville In, Violence Out. Eagle photo by Kelly Mena

Assemblymember Diana Richardson, who represents Crown Heights, went on to call on the state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allocate annual funding to anti-gun violence efforts in Brooklyn.

“We want $1.2 million every budget cycle,” Richardson told the Brooklyn Eagle. “Currently the county of the Bronx is getting $600,000 annually for anti-gun violence initiaitves. We are a county two times the size, we have two times the amount of violence than that particularly county and we need two times the amount of funding.”

This allotment follows Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement Tuesday of $9 million in city funding toward local groups, including $1 million to crisis management groups in Brownsville. The Mayor’s Office said on Friday there has been no decision made on which groups will receive that money or how it will be divided.

Myrie and Richardson on Friday divvied up the state funding between six groups:

  • $50,000 to 67th Clergy Council (a.k.a the God Squad) (serving East Flatbush and throughout Central Brooklyn)
  • $50,000 to Save Our Streets (serving Crown Heights and throughout Central Brooklyn)
  • $25,000 to Brownsville Community Justice Center
  • $25,000 to Brownsville In, Violence Out
  • $25,000 to Elite Learners (Brownsville)
  • $25,000 to Brownsville Think Tank Matters

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  1. how instead of throwing more money to try to fix the problem. how about the city enforcing the gun laws that they have on the books already. the city and state has so many gun laws on the books but yet not only not enforce it. but keep saying they there is a need for more gun laws to add on the books.

  2. Helena Yang

    There needs to be more safety / security in Crown Heights!! This is insane that there are so many shootings so often, how can one go about their lives without having to worry about guns every minute?!