Another senseless act of gun violence left a community in shock once again; now they are asking for justice and pleading for change.
A longstanding dispute and arguments over noise led to the double homicide of a father, Bladimy Mathurin, 47, and his stepson, Mode Chinwai, 27, by their neighbor, Jason Pass, 47, on Sunday night, October 29th.
The cold-blooded shooting, which took place in the hallway of a Flatbush Gardens apartment building, led to community outcry and prayer vigils, and a police confrontation with the killer led to his death only three days later.
Elite Learners, Inc., a 67th Precinct Cure Violence organization, along with Councilwoman Farah Louis and numerous community partners, quickly organized a community response outside of the complex at 1418 Brooklyn Avenue on October 31st to support the family and call for justice.
Justice came quickly, but the reflections of the community about violence and the need for change will resonate long after.
Louis spoke of the impact on the family and said she would ask the Mayor’s office to deploy a grief counseling team for the community. “Everybody is grieving, even me, who had to step over blood yesterday in front of a woman’s apartment where her husband was killed,” she said. There is no way you can continue on without being traumatized by that.”
Other speakers or organizations included Assemblywoman Monique Chandler-Waterman; Camara Jackson and Rob Williams of Elite Learners; members of the clergy; residents; Flatbush Gardens Tenant Association President Marietta Smalls; Bridging Access to Care; Sharon Coombs-Rose, from Christopher Rose Empowerment Campaign, who lost her son 18 years ago to violence; Natasha Christopher, from Mothers for Safe Cities, a mother who lost her son, Akeal, 11 years ago to gun violence; and two other mothers who lost their sons to stabbings or gun violence.
“The guns are coming in from the pipeline from the states that have lax gun laws, so we must do a better job,” Christopher said.
Chandler-Waterman talked about the oversaturation of guns and other weapons that people use to commit violence. “So, as we work on legislation to correct some of these situations, we also have to work within our hearts and our love … because love conquers all.”
They spoke about how violence and trauma has affected them and the need to restore the feeling of community by changing hearts and minds to love one another as we love ourselves.
Pastor Louis Straker, Jr. of the God Squad led a prayer to change the hearts of people toward love and unity.
“Tongue violence is even worse than gun violence because life and death is in the power of the tongue, and it begins with a word from the tongue,” Reverend Terry Lee said. “We need love and not hate; we need peace and not war.” He led the community to repeat it three times, each time growing louder.