The Latest on Rashawn Brazell
If you are under the impression that the organizing efforts around the murder of Rashawn Brazell are finished, drawing to a close or losing relevance, you're mistaken. Here's a peek at what's taken place since my last post.
On Friday, March 25th Rashawn's friends, family and concerned citizens from New York and New Jersey gathered en masse at the Nostrand Avenue subway stop in Brooklyn to honor Rashawn Brazell's memory. Above the tunnel where some of the young man's remains were found, we lit candles, we prayed, we cried and we mourned the loss of the man whose tragic murder reminds us all of the preciousness of life and the terrible wages of violence. The event was well-attended and garnered coverage on a number of media outlets, including ABC 7and UPN 9.
(photos courtesy of: Andres Duque)
The Town Hall Meeting:
On Monday, April 4th we gathered again, this time with the aim of translating our sorrow and anger into dialogue and action. Organized by the Rashawn Brazell Collective, the town hall meeting gave concerned citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns about the case directly to their elected officials, community based organizations and the police. In attendance were:
Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough President
Lt. John Moran of the New York Police Department
Lt. John Cornicello of the Brooklyn North Homicide Department
Councilmember Letitia James
A representative from the office of Councilmember Albert Vann
Eric Adams, President of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement
as well as representatives from:
New York City's Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
Black Men's Exchnage (BMX)
Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD)
The New York State Black Gay Network (NYSBGN)
People of Color in Crisis (POCC)
Unity Fellowship Church of Brooklyn, New York (UFC)
(photos courtesy of: Bernard Morisset)
Key developments from the meeting:
1. Desire Brazell, Rashawn's mother surveyed the area surrounding her home and was unable to find a single flyer. Many also took issue with the fact that Rashawn's mugshot was being used for some flyer, concerned that doing so causes the confusion of the victim and the perpetrator. In turn, we are partnering with the police to post updated flyers about the murder and the reward in the neighborhood with the goal of soliciting more information from the public.
2. At the time of the meeting, the reward listed on the flyer was the standard $2000. Reasoning that community members might be more inclined to offer tips if there were a more substantial incentive, Councilmember Leticia James donated an additional $1000 to the fund, as did 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement and the Unity Fellowship Church, bringing the total reward to $5000. However, at the mayor's discretion, the reward can be raised to $10,000.
In turn, we ask that you contact the Mayor Bloomberg and communicate to him why increasing the award is a necessity and a priority. Don't know what to say? Why not just borrow a bit from Bernie's letter? Be sure to specify why it's important to raise the reward amount!
Contact the Mayor (email)
Fax (212) 788-2460
3. Your letters, phone calls and faxes are important. "The deployment of resources depends largely on community pressure" say the NYPD representatives. So, make use of this telephone list of the 79th precinct, and let them know that getting this killer off the streets is a pressing matter. You can also email Raymond W. Kelly, the comissioner of the NYPD by clicking here.
4. Letitia James is calling for a press conference on the steps of City Hall. As the city begins to debate it's new budget, she believes more funds should be available to the community-based organizations that have made our organizing possible, that the fullest range of resources should utilized in the investigation of this case and that the case deserves greater visibility amongst the media, the general public and elected officials alike. Needless to say, I'm with her.
5. The Rashawn Brazell Collective will be meeting again in the near future. To stay abreast of our organizing efforts, check out the official listserve which disseminates information on the events planned in response to Rashawn Brazell's murder.
6. Wednesday, April 27th: If you are in the NYC area, attending the 79th Precinct Community Council meeting would be a wonderful way to ensure that our concerns about this investigation remain a priority for police and community members alike. The meeting is held the fourth Wednesday of the month at 263 Tompkins Avenue at 7:00 p.m. .