For The Sake of Our Children, Gun Violence Should Not be Normalized!

pictured: Family, children, coaches and supporters gather at JFK following a previous shooting incident  that left two children and two adults struck by gunfire. A reward of up to $5,000 is now being offered for information leading to an arrest or indictment in the  quadruple shooting in Buffalo. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 716-867-6161. Street Legacy Photo by Davin Adams

story by QueeNia

On June 23, 2021 a shooting took place at JFK Park that left  Four  young people injured, ages 8, 14 ,  21 and  24 . Many  more were left feeling scared, upset, confused, stressed and angry.

I am a concerned parent of a 9-year-old child that was participating in Soccer for Success sponsored by Independent Health. My son has participated in this program since he was 5 years old. We’ve never even seen so much as an argument or fist fight during program time. One coach, affectionately called Coach Grandma, testified that JFK (1st Site) has always been safe for over 13 years.

I’m convinced that children who experience this type of trauma need to have trauma counseling asap and  that the family’s should not have to worry about where this counseling would take place or how to pay for it. 

My concern that parents may be apprehensive about bringing children back was validated when we showed up to practice on Monday when only about 13 of normally 50 youth were present.

The program will begin again on July 12th and my hope is that they would have received counseling and will be eager to play like children. BPD and Peace Makers are marked to be present in an effort to ease fears.

I’m dedicated to finding a way to make it KNOWN that these incidents of gun violence should NOT be normalized!

I’ve made my appeal known to several elected official through my Facebook post including Mitch Nowakowski, Fillmore District Council Member; Mayor Byron W. Brown;  Legislator Howard Johnson Legislator April Baskin; Mark Polancarz, County Executive; and Senator Tim Kennedy .I’m am still hoping to hear from any one of them that is willing to help.

Our children have feelings that need and deserve to be sorted out! If we normalize expressing their feelings and getting professional help even for a few sessions after an incident like this we will see our youth develop into adults that will do the same.

In essence we’ll be normalizing It’s Ok To Say When We’re Not Ok and IT’S OK TO GET HELP.

At JFK, the youth huddled today as they have many times to close out practice & games and chanted: “Who Came First? JFK! WHO CAME FIRST?? JFK!!”