In light of the recent violent killings of teenagers in Far Rockaway, Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) joined other elected officials, community groups and anti-violence advocates for a Community Peace March and Call to Action Summit on Saturday, February 24, 2018.
"We are in a situation where young people are killing young people," Sanders said. "One young man lost his life for trying to leave a gang. We are not going to tolerate that. We have to make sure that they have a way to education, that they have a way to get to jobs, and if they choose, they can get to religion. We are going to stand together against the forces that will try to take our young people."
The march began at Beach 25th Street (Far Rockaway High School) and ended at Beach 57th Street at Beach Channel Drive. The march was followed by a Call to Action Summit from 12 noon - 4 p.m. at the Ocean Bay Community Center in Far Rockaway. The summit included workshops on subjects as increasing positive motivation in young people, conflict resolution, parenting, and social media and bullying.
More than 100 people of all ages and races participated in the event and even more joined the march as it proceeded down each block. People getting off of a city bus and seeing the march spontaneously decided to participate. Motorists honked their horns in solidarity with the unity march.
The march and summit were particularly timely since two teens Trevor Rhudd and Youssef Soliman, both age 15 were recently gunned down in the area. In January, Trevor Rhudd was shot dead in a stairwell at the Beach 41st Street Houses on Beach Channel Drive in Edgemere. This senseless death was allegedly the result of a dispute over an iPhone. In early February, Youssef Soliman, who enjoyed basketball and spending time at the Ocean Bay Community Center, lost his life in an alleged gang dispute, shot and killed on Beach Channel Drive near Beach 47th St.
"We should not be silent in the case of injustice," Sanders said. "We should not be silent when young people are being slaughtered, because their voices cry out for justice."