This past Monday, August 6th, at the National Action Network (NAN) headquarters in New York, New York, Rev. Al Shartpon and his organization held a closed session emergency “Occupy the Corners” planning meeting in response to the recent rash of shootings that have plagued the country. The city’s top-elected officials, community leaders, and clergy joined the session. Now, it has been announced that for the next four consecutive weekends, starting August 17th, from 11pm to 1am, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, community activists, politicians, church leaders, and more will stand on designated “hotspot” areas throughout the city and watch for any signs of violence, talking to residents and taking back the streets.
Sharpton says, “OTC is not a patrol, but an opportunity to show strong real-life neighborly support in our communities most plagued by gun violence.”
In addition, Sharpton claims that the OTC plans to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg for an immediate meeting to identify in detail the funding that is currently being given or available to be distributed to local community service efforts that are starving for resources. “This will not be a general ask for funding, but a specific request of Bloomberg and others to solicit cash from corporations that profit from the lives of those most affected.”
One major target OTC has in mind is the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The number of residents in these developments, which now stands at 600,000, would be enough to make up the 20th largest city in the country. Shootings at NYCHA rose 27 per cent within the past year. Chairman Rhea says this issue attributes in part to poor funding.
“There are no dedicated dollars being funded for security in NYCHA,” argued Rhea as he lends his full support to Occupy the Corners. “The existing neighborhood associations need all the help they can get.”
NAN and its coalition partners will release more information about the exact locations for their “hotspot” areas. There will also be a loud call for volunteers to support the movements. OTC will also push the Mayor’s office to re-ignite private fund-raising efforts in the fight against neighborhood violence.