Civil Rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the non-profit organization, the National Action Network, can always be counted on to address social injustice, especially in New York City. Now he is focused on inner-city violence and has created a movement for communities to “take back their streets” and create safe environments.
Now the Rev- Sharpton and his National Action Network (NAN) are responding to the recent rash of shootings that have plagued the country with the Occupy the Corners (OTC).
“Residents, politicians and community activists have gathered at designated corners in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The first weekend, Rev. Sharpton himself was posted at corners in Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens where the violence is prevalent,” says Rachel Noerdlinger, spokesperson for Rev. Sharpton.
The movement started earlier this month. Each weekend, groups including community activists, politicians, church leaders, and others stand on corners in various areas throughout New York City. The protesters are on the lookout for violence as an effort to take back the streets. Among the violent episodes that have spurred on the action was the recent shooting of 4-year-old Lloyd Morgan, who was fatally struck by a bullet at a playground in the Bronx.
“At each stop, community activists gave speeches about the danger of gun violence and handed out literature, including voter registration forms, to those who passed by,” explains Noerdlinger. “OTC is not a patrol, says Rev. Al Sharpton, but an opportunity to show strong real-life neighborly support in our communities most plagued by gun violence.
OTC began on August 17 and will last for four weeks. “The idea for OTC is a call to Mayor Michael Bloomberg for an immediate meeting to identify, in detail, the funding that is currently being given or is available to be distributed to local community anti-violence service efforts that are starving for resources,” says Noerdlinger. “OTC will push the mayor’s office to reignite private fundraising efforts in the fight against neighborhood violence.”