First and foremost, it is most important for Black Lives Matter-Paterson to express their deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims tragically lost to gun violence in our City.
Over this past week, gun violence has plagued the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, yet again. During a time when Patersonians are trying to overcome a global pandemic and unemployment and police brutality, many now must also mourn the loss of their loved ones. Gun violence has ripped our city apart repeatedly and we must stand together and fight back. This is not okay. This is not the way Patersonians should be living. We demand CHANGE!
While our entire nation is on edge, we just stand up as a people and change this course. The safest communities in America are not safe because they have more police. They are safe because they have more resources. Because their citizens have access to fair living wages, healthcare, and exceptional public school education. Paterson can do better. We deserve better. Our children deserve better. Our future can be so bright but our children need to be alive to go to school and young adults need to be out of jail to go to work. In order to create a safe and sustainable community where residents can thrive, we need to forego past practices and approaches in favor of better ways that heal individuals and communities, instead of feeding into a vicious cycle of violence and re-incarceration.
If your life has not been personally touched by these incidents, don’t be complacent. We are ALL impacted and are slowly being forever changed as a City if we don’t say “Enough!” Enough IS enough, and now is the time to stand together and hold politicians accountable for their broken promises when they want our vote every time they are running for re-election. But most of all, now is the time to protect one another. There is no time to waste. We all share in humanity with one another. We are all someone’s child, someone’s relative, someone’s friend, someone’s neighbor. We need to understand that the solutions are not just for others to act on, we have to take personal responsibility to love one another more and to show care and compassion. We must no longer sit back but speak out, act, mobilize and do everything in our power to stop these senseless tragedies.
Let us come together and in unity, help to bring mutual respect, fierce determination, and empathy to make a change for those that have been murdered by the grotesque gun violence that plagues our city.
We say, “No More. Not one more death.” We hope you will join us.
Written by Flo Gonzalez of the Black Lives Matter in Paterson.