Activist Group addresses Ways to feel safer in Community

South Bronx residents recently gathered to discuss how to make the community safer and how to work with their neighbors.

On Thursday, Feruary. 6, SOS, Save Our Streets, a non-violence activist group, held its second meeting of the year centered on creating a plan to protect communities.

The youth made their voices known that night. Kassandra, 17, a member of the SOS Youth Council, said the south Bronx needs more recreation centers and safe places for kids to go. But, stressed the parents can only do so much.

“You can’t force them (kids) to go,” she said. “You have to want to be there. There should be programs for everybody.”

The teen explained that often people act out in school or join gangs because they don’t have a stable home. She noted that people often say how people behave starts with the parents, but questioned what if the parents are absentee.

“That’s the reason they roam the streets because the home is not the home,” she explained. “They feel outside is a better environment than their household.”

She then discussed the negative impact of social media on today’s society.

“It (social media) was better when you were younger,” she said. “When you’re younger, you are not gang affiliated. It was designed to be a good thing, but people make it into something else.”

Sabrina, 11, of Morissania, told the Bronx Times she does not feel safe in her neighborhood. She recalled how one of her friends was followed home one time and robbed.

She said there needs to be more community centers and safe places for kids to go rather than just liquor stores and 24/7 bodegas. Sabrina noted her mom taught her that not everyone wants to be her friend.

“Some of these kids get killed and I don’t want to be one of them,” she said. “Some of these kids are getting into gangs.”

Another resident stressed how important it is to make an attempt to hold others accountable, do volunteer work and get to know their neighbors.

He said instead of committing crimes, people should talk to each other. Some people think they can only be drugs dealers or never leave the hood, but they need to realize they can be more.

“We all come from the same neighborhood,” he said. “We all have the same problems. We all know what poverty is. You can be greater than what you are.”

There were also parents who are quite concerned about the violence in the neighborhood.

Asher Diamond, who lives on East 163rd, has three kids, 15,8 and 5 and is worried her oldest may be in a gang.

She has seen him put up gang signs and is scared of what could happen if it’s true. She knows it a bad area, but hopes he chooses sports instead of that life.

“I would really like him to play basketball,” she said. “I do feel safe, but my son has had altercations with kids before.”


Schneps Media Jason Cohen

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