(The Bronx Declaration)
"Three weeks ago, on Sunday night, June 28th, 17- year old African American Brandon Hendricks was killed when gunfire broke out while he was attending a friend’s birthday party in the Bronx. As saddened New Yorkers learned from the media reports of his slaying, Brandon had been the captain of the James Monroe High School Basketball Team, and had graduated from the school just one week before. And as New Yorkers also learned, Brandon, whose last words in this world after being shot were, “call my mom,” had been recently engaged in the joyous process of deciding in which college to enroll this coming fall, trying to make the best choice out of the many vying to recruit him to play on their basketball team."
“He wanted to live,” said his grieving mother Eve Hendricks. “This was not his destiny. His destiny was to live forever and to be the greatest of all. He was very smart. He always thinks about others before his thinks about himself.” Robert Golomb reported.
What: The Bronx Declaration
At this time, it’s abundantly clear to all of us the fact that we can’t achieve equitable socioeconomic development in the Bronx without reducing its level of crime and violence. This is therefore an urgent call for all Bronxites to stop infighting and put our collevtive resources and intellects to use in the elimination of our common enemies: Poverty, crimes and violence. "A house divided can not stand on its own." Together, we will find what the real culprits of these crimes and violence are and address them. No matter what they are, they must be addressed and they will be permanently addressed. We will not put bandages on them. We will not make excuses in addressing them. We will not blame anyone for them. But we will finally hold accountable responsible parties for them in the Bronx. Race, religion, politics, ethnicity, language or neighborhood variations must not deter us from focusing on our collective socioeconomic progress, especially when Bronx has all elements to be a preferred destination for families, entrepreneurs, investors and tourists. Unity in purpose doesn't require uniformity. We are one diverse human family.
We will no longer normalize crime, tolerate violence or accept extreme poverty in the Bronx. The tale of two cities must be in the history books not our future. Bronx being the first in all things bad and last in all things good must be reseversed and shall be reversed. It's all about attitude, tolerance and acceptance. The Bronx Declaration shall assist responsible individuals with needed resources while holding accountable irresponsible individuals.
We expect all community, political and religious leaders to wholeheartedly embrace this historic Bronx Declaration, “Living. Loving. Lifting.”
National Community Peacebuilding Commission
National Community Peacebuilding Commission (NCPC)
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in King Chapel at Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, on Oct. 15, 1962. In a speech that inspired a generation of Cornellians, he said, “… I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”
Mission: To harmonize racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and socioeconomic differences nationally. Out of many, one.
Organs: A city or states chartered voluntary commission with county chapters represented by volunteer Peacebuilding Commissioners selected from Community Boards or not-for-profit organizations.
- NYC headquarters with local offices in each of the five counties.
- Community Peacebuilding Commission’s functions is community relations/peace building whose commissioners reflect the demographics of their districts.
- Commissioners organize diverse cultural events, community peacebuilding programs, provide referrals to government resources for self-sufficiency, and to coordinate Peace Education Curricula in schools, houses of worship, organizations, etc.
- Commissioners coordinate community preventive programs, anti-bias & diversity training and help facilitate vigils of hate/violence crimes and services.
- Commissioners lead occasional diverse tours to cultural centers, museums, houses of worship, socialization opportunities, etc.
- Commissioners host monthly/weekly Community Peace Dinners with diverse constituents and the youths.
- Commissioners are the ambassadors of community relationship building and preventers of hate crimes, who work closely with all stakeholders including their elected officials, precincts, religious & community leaders, schools, not-for-profits and other relevant parties to build bridges, promote neighborliness and prevent hate crimes and community violence.
- To prevent all other emerging challenges with the potential of stirring racial, religious, cultural, ethnic, or political conflicts, locally and nationally.
- Online peacebuilding presence as well.
*Example of New York City Community Peace Dinners
Community Peace Dinners during Neighborly Day
The sad reality is that while we may not know who will commit the next violent crimes, where and how they’ll be committed, and for what reason, we’re nonetheless certain violent crimes would be committed against innocent people by folks who needed our neighborly interventions. Friday, the Neighborly Day, is therefore the best day during the week to check on our neighbors with the intention of positively impacting their lives forever. Peaceful coexistence (albeit our diversity) should be the intended outcome of all our neighborly actions and interactions.
Just minding our own business in this day and age is no longer an acceptable attitude. We are one human family that should be mindful of all elements from within in order to provide timely assistance to those in need, disrupt evil plans being hatched and prevent heinous crimes that could be carried out by the unhinged member (s) within our Neighborhoods.
Another word, every Neighborly Day gives us a unique opportunity to have intimate interactions with our neighbors in order to learn firsthand how to be helpful to them and when we do know something that warrants immediate action, we intervene. It is our neighborly business to be in the know for preventive sake!
So we can prudently invest in prevention and peaceful coexistence or foolishly spend in reacting to violence and hatred. The choices are clear and ours.
Lastly, we should not patronize violent movies and media or to ignorantly call violent Hollywood figures heroes. They are not. The real heroes are our mothers who most deserve our honor on Neighborly Days and all other days. As neighbors, we must never, ever normalize crime, violence, abuse, injustice, bias, inequity, poverty, violent extremism, oppression, etc.
Community Peace Dinners/Public Safety Dinners
The cheapest, smartest and most effective way to build safe and successful neighborhoods are through Community Peace Dinners/Public Safety Dinners, because prevention not reaction is the key.
Those of you who have not been participants to these weekly Community Peace Dinners taking place on Friday throughout the Bronx should start now.
We live in close proximity with each other and use common places yet seldom do we have meaningful social or neighborly interactions. Our interactions as neighbors often take place only when tragedy strikes.
As a result of these individualistic imposed constraints, we can easily form negative opinions about each other without having invested necessary time and neighborly effort to know each other. Due to this ignorance of each other, we generalize our neighbors by race, religion, ethnicity, etc.
However, through these community peace dinners, we become true neighbors. We talk to each other as neighbors. We discuss our common interests and mutual desires. We break bread together. We learn about each other intimately. We develop mutual love and respect based on sound understanding of each other’s backgrounds, cultures, traditions, values, spirituality, priorities, etc…
These Community Peace Dinners therefore disrupt individual loneliness, depression, and vulnerability. Through these neighborly dinners, we become parts of each other and a support mechanism to one another. We become informed neighbors and protectors of our neighborhoods. With this developed neighborliness, we embrace diversity and collective commitment to the quality of life for all.
This brings public safety, public harmony and collective public wellness. The dinners save precious lives and finite public resources. When residents are partners to positive change in their communities, the need for law enforcement lessens tremendously. According to FBI and NYPD crime data, most crimes are committed by folks under thirty years of age who are mostly killing each other to protect territories where illegal activities take place. Through the network of these dinners, we get the neighborhood youth involved in positive and productive vocations that dismantles the vicious cycle of chronic violent crimes and extreme poverty. “It’s easier to build strong children than to fix broken men,” said Fredrick. Douglas.
Community Peace Dinners take place every Friday evening throughout the Bronx. For further information or interested in hosting/sponsoring/attending these dinners, you can call 718-822-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! #ncpbc