Tag Archives: Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York

Queens Museum lit orange for gun violence awareness following vigil

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The “World’s Borough” came together Monday night to honor the nine lives lost in last week’s South Carolina church shooting, and show the rest of the nation that a diverse community can unite as one.

Elected officials, local community and religious leaders, and families of victims of gun violence gathered in front of the Queens Museum during a candlelight vigil remembering the victims of gun violence throughout the borough, and paying tribute to the nine people shot and killed at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17.

“We are the borough of Queens, we are 130 languages spoken in our school system, we hail from over 120 countries and you know what? We take the greatest pride in that diversity. We are proud and we stand together to say that gun violence, especially racist terrorist gun violence, will not be tolerated and we will stand together to send that message,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

Monday night also marked the first of nine nights that the front exterior of the Queens Museum will be illuminated in orange, the official color of Gun Violence Awareness Month. Through June 30, an average of about 168,000 motorists per day will be able to see the museum as they drive by on the Grand Central Parkway.


“I hope the orange glow of the museum’s façade this evening will remember each of the passing motorists of our collective responsibilities,” said Laura Raicovich, executive director of the Queens Museum.

Those present during the interfaith vigil included local religious leaders who each voiced the importance of coming together to fight for the end of gun violence. Pastor Richard Hogan of the Divine Deliverance Ministry in Jamaica and father of Laseam Hogan, who was killed in 2010 at the age of 27, also led the group in a prayer.

“We come here to launch a movement. We’ve been moving but we need a movement, a movement against gun violence. This is not a movement of just some folk but it has to be a movement of all folk,” said Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt of the Greater Allen A.M.E Cathedral of New York in Jamaica. “We are all impacted. Bullets do not respect age, [do] not respect denomination, faith, tradition, socio-economic background. We have to come together.”

At the end of the night, family members of victims of gun violence read out names of their lost friends, husbands, sons, daughters and other loved ones.

“We commit to continue to be the trailblazers in the borough of Queens and make sure that as the Queens division of the crisis management system, we will show the world how people from different races, people from different ideologies, people from different nationalities, people from different beliefs, and walks and everything that you can think of can come together and change the culture of violence and stop the epidemic of violence from spreading and killing our children and destroying our families,” said Erica Ford, CEO and founder of LIFE Camp Inc., a group founded in 2002 with the mission of teaching violence prevention in schools.


Queens mourns Charleston massacre victims at vigil tonight

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Flushing Meadows Corona Park will play host to an interfaith prayer vigil this evening for the nine victims gunned down Wednesday night at a Charleston, S.C., church.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other elected officials are expected to participate in the ceremony that will take place at 8 p.m. in front of the Queens Museum, located a short distance from the Unisphere.

According to Katz’s office, the vigil will honor the memory of the Charleston massacre victims while also demonstrating support for efforts to stop gun violence. The museum’s exterior, visible to drivers on the Grand Central Parkway, will be illuminated in orange through June 30 as part of Gun Violence Awareness Month.

The massacre occurred Wednesday night during Bible study at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. The alleged gunman — Dylann Roof, 21, who has ties to white supremacist groups — sat in the class for an hour before fatally shooting the church’s pastor— Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator — and eight others, all of whom were black.

Roof, who reportedly made racially charged statements and uttered epithets immediately before and during the shooting, was caught the following day in North Carolina.

Among those joining Katz at the vigil include Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown; Assistant Chief David Barrere, commander of NYPD Patrol Borough Queens South; Rabbi Robin Fryer Bodzin of the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism; Dr. Ghassan Elcheikhali of the Razi School in Woodside; and Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in St. Albans.

Greater Allen Cathedral held a similar rally on Saturday in St. Albans attended by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who condemned the massacre as “an act of domestic … and racist terrorism.” Joining Pastor Floyd Flake and other community leaders, the mayor said the city would continue working toward eradicating racism and building a society based on social and economic fairness and justice.

“The only way change has been made in this country is by those willing to stare fear in the face,” de Blasio said. “Terror cannot break the back of this community. It cannot break the back of the A.M.E. church. It cannot break the back of peace-loving people. We will continue to build the society we believe in.”


Queens leaders reflect on Mandela’s world-changing life

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Congressmember Gregory Meeks

The death of former South African President and Nobel Prize Peace winner Nelson Mandela at age 95 last week resonated around the world as people reflected on his legacy.

His impact was felt by local leaders in Queens, some of whom met the influential leader.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks traveled to South Africa to attend Mandela’s memorial, which has held on Tuesday at Johannesburg’s FNB stadium.

“I will always cherish having met Nelson Mandela on several occasions — especially the laughter, stories, and insight he shared with me and other members of a congressional delegation during a wonderful lunch at his home,” said Meeks.

Following the memorial service, Meeks said “it was inspiring to see over 101 head of states come to memorialize a man who changed the course of history through his dedication focus and sacrifice. [And] to know that if one stands on high moral ground you can have people from all over the world come to salute you and aspire to achieve a more equal world no matter your race, religion, ethnicity or wealth.”

Reverend Floyd Flake, a former U.S. congressmember and senior pastor at the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, who also had the opportunity to meet Mandela, said “even in his jail time he stayed a force.”

“I think his legacy will be an empowering legacy and the legacy of a person who could have given up but did not” he said.

“The way his life has gone is of such a nature, people of such [different] persuasions, of all races, of all classes have come to love what he represents.”