Just 72 hours after a devastating event at a venerated L.A. institution, Council District Eight Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson drew the community together in an impressive show of solidarity.
“We’re going to do everything to stem the tide of gun violence whether it happens here, at the park, or at this community institution,” said Harris-Dawson above the loud hum of a restaurant filled to capacity. “We had a really bad blow… and we want to take this opportunity to say Roscoe’s is ours, and we’re going to show up to support it.” Clapping hands and affirmative shouts punctuated the air.
Sister Herron, a Southern California Cease Fire and Watts Gang Task Force member added to the Councilmember’s sentiments, saying, “This restaurant has name value… we bring our kids in here, it’s a family place. We also have ex-offenders that have been able to recover their life because they’ve been given a second chance, so Roscoe’s has a name value. They’re very important.” She went on to say “We’re devastated that this young man was killed in such a cruel way. There’s no way to express that without being angry. And for us, it’s a theft to his children; how are they supposed to survive without an income provider?
“We’re offended because he was killed over jewelry…seriously? Our greatest desire is that his killers be arrested.”
Community safety is a top priority in the district. Harris-Dawson and his team have successfully brought down violence in the community through its Community Safety Partnership program. This weekend, they will celebrate the fifth anniversary of its inception at Harvard Park. The program boasts a 50% reduction in crime and elimination of homicides where program components of community engagement, Community Interventionist, and Preventionist have been integrated into the rhythms of the neighborhood.
“Today, we gathered to heal in community at Roscoe’s. I want to send my condolences to the family of PnB Rock. I also want to send my sympathy to the workers who witnessed this violence,” said Harris-Dawson. “Let’s uplift the family in our thoughts and prayers and all those impacted by gun violence.”
Along with District Eight Councilmember Harris-Dawson, neighboring Councilmember Curren Price from Council District Nine supported the event. Community organizations that came out in support were Community Coalition, Gang Alternatives Program, Los Angeles Conservation Corp, Southern California Cease Fire, Chapter TWO, APUU-Advocate 4 Peace & Urban Unity and Coalition for Responsible Community Development.
Support from the spiritual community included Pastor Edgar Boyd from First AME Church, Sr. Pastor Ken J. Walden, and Reverend Louis Tillman from Holman United Methodist Church. Community activist Najee Ali was also in attendance.