Healing Day held at Queensbridge Houses in response to gun violence

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) – Community organizers in Queens, working with New York City, held a “day of healing” at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City on Saturday in response to an outbreak of violence there. low.

“It amplifies a message of hope,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor of the Center of Hope International.

This was the 7th “Community Healing Day” held across town this summer with the goal of helping neighborhoods that experienced higher crime levels this summer. The events are sponsored by the New York City Bureau of Criminal Justice.

“Right now, it’s just good to be in the community, to have everyone engaged,” said Jasmine Paez of Jacob Riis Institution.

At least a dozen groups set up tables at the event with information for residents on social services and other resources. Free food, music and entertainment were provided.

Members of the New York Knicks Outreach were there to provide free basketball clinics for area kids.

“It’s summer,” basketball coach Bill Singleton said. “And the young people of New York, they need to be engaged and involved in positive activity.”

Community Healing Day was offered in conjunction with the annual community event at Queensbridge Houses known as “Slice Day”. The event commemorates the life of 23-year-old longtime Queensbridge resident Keenan “Slice” Feaster who was the victim of gun violence.

K. Bain, with the organizer of the “Slice Day” event, Community Capacity Development, said that before the coronavirus pandemic, shootings were almost completely eliminated in the Queensbridge Houses, but are now happening again.

In fact, an organizer of the event told Eyewitness News that rival factions who live in the houses agreed not to engage in violence during the event on Saturday afternoon.

Bain said community leaders need to get back to square one.

“We know how to stop the violence,” he said.

Bain said credible leaders in the community need to provide the right resources to the right people.

At the microphone, Bain told those present at the event: “If we want to be safe, if we want to have justice and prosperity in our communities, then we have to do it ourselves,” he said.

The next Community Healing Day will be July 30 at Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, followed by Tompkins Houses in Bed-Stuy on August 7 and Stapleton Houses in Stapleton on August 19.

Next weekend in Long Island City, a group of community residents are hosting a neighborhood wellness day. The event will include facial massages, sound healing and yoga. “A Sense of Wellness” will take place on Sunday July 25 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Queensbridge Park on Vernon Boulevard.

RELATED | Local leaders call for an end to gun violence

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