Children from the Mary Mitchell Center gather on the steps of City Hall to protest violence in Crotona (Photo by Ashley Villarreal)
On Dec. 14 the Ghost of Christmas Future visited City Hall.
Playing the parts of characters from “A Christmas Carol,” 50 children from the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center’s after school program climbed the institution’s steps to let Mayor “Scrooge” know that if things don’t change, they too risk becoming victims of violence in the Bronx.
In the fall, the 48th Precinct in the central Bronx had been heralding the passing of two months without one reported shooting. But two shootings in early November were followed by another incident on Nov. 16, when gunfire erupted right outside the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center’s playground, at 2007 Mapes Ave., where dozens of children were playing. Later that day, 19-year-old Felix DelValle was shot dead and two others were injured in the courtyard of nearby 2000 Prospect Ave.
The Mary Mitchell Center’s Executive Director Heidi Hynes wanted answers. On Nov. 24 she organized an emergency meeting of local politicians, police and community organizations, to discuss measures to prevent gun violence. And in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, she requested he come live at 2000 Prospect Ave. for the month of February to familiarize himself with the community’s mounting concerns.
“The mayor has been great on gun control but he needs to also start focusing on the culture of violence,” Hynes said. “You can’t just take away guns, people are violent beyond that, and we need to work on creating a neighborhood safe for every child.”
With no reply from the mayor, the center’s staff decided to bring the children to City Hall to put on a play in protest of the violence.
More here in the Tremont Tribune.
Reporting and writing by Ashley Villarreal.