There are many places in the Bronx where walking into it for the first time may seem intimidating but don’t be when entering Peace Decembers’ headquarters at 2006 Westchester Avenue. They have an above and beyond approach towards community service along with their monthly meetings is a who’s who of Bronx community activists.
I was invited by Darney Rivers a.k.a K. Born to attend his Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t Dinner and was honored to be asked but hesitant because there were many events being held by Devil Dog USA on the same day. After wrapping up a Scuba Diving lecture with the Bronx Madison Square Bronx Boys and Girls Club at the Columbus Clubhouse, I rushed over.
Once I sat down I could visibly see many community members from different parts of the Bronx attending: Debra Rosario from the Bronx Green Party, John Perez candidate for Council District 17, Muhammad Abuhaikal candidate for Council District 13, business owners and numerous executives from many non-profits, even the left leg of Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Aldo Perez.
Once everyone was settled in, each individual gave a short introduction of themselves and explanation on their purpose being there. Many of the reasons were to talk about making actual changes in the community and uniting on the front lines to make those words into action. Regardless of their purpose for being there they were there to make a unified stance.
K. Born did a very lengthily sermon regarding the hardships of the what many community members are facing. When combating an issue another obstacle will sprout out from it.
Examples given are the tragic death of Yadira Arroyo by Jose Gonzalez. Gonzalez has a long history of mental health issues and a long criminal history. In March, Gonzalez took Yadira’s EMT vehicle and ran her over. She later succumbed to her injuries. Punishment needs to happen but his mental illness needs to be addressed at the same time.
There are many worn down buildings in our area and when the city was selling it for $1, no one wanted to take action on it. Now that a developer comes in and wants to build something, gentrification is now an issue. Longtime residents are being pushed out because of rising rents but what should happen? Should the building continue to degrade?
Many Bronx residents are protesting events across the country but ignoring the issues right in their backyard. We are quick to take off from work to protest the President but what about focusing on the issues of our own neighbors?
After the lectures the event finished off with a delicious dinner where all gathered to pay homage to the youth of the community. I would highly recommend those who have hesitated to stop by I Am My Community Event to become better familiarized with the organization and what it does.
These examples can be reviewed in K Born’s speech here:
Photos courtesy of James Washington-Ward