Op-Ed: The New Major Owens Community Center Is the Solution to Ending the Gun Violence Epidemic in Our Community

By: Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, Brooklyn’s 35th District

On September 26th, 2021, I took a call from Gabriel Sandoval of The City who was doing what we call in politics a non-objective “gotcha” article on the Bedford Union Armory.

I responded very sarcastically and flippantly to his questions and out of frustration, I stated things like “The Armory doesn’t even exist… The whole Armory is an illusion” … and “I hope that when it opens, it closes” etc. In some ways, I thought if I gave him the most outrageous and outlandish answers I could think of, he might go away and leave me alone as this was not his first call to me, but one of many.

Instead, he utilized it as some sort of impressive investigative interview that would put him on the map. Well, good for him and I hope he becomes a star with many followers. I’m here to help.

The day Mr. Sandoval called, I was taking a mental health day and I SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THE CALL. I’m working with real people in crisis every day calling from hospitals, nursing homes, mortuaries, and homeless shelters who are dealing with life and death issues and I didn’t have the capacity, bandwidth, energy, or patience to deal with a reporter’s “gotcha” article that is in no way going to assist with helping or supporting anyone in crisis that I am trying to help.

Morale in my office is down, but my staff continues to show up and power through each day. My Chief of Staff just buried her father last week; my Legislative Director’s grandfather also died last week and had to fly to LA yesterday; my Chief of Operations’ godfather to her son and daughter was shot and killed; my Deputy Chief of Staff’s mother died, and our Logistics’ Coordinator’s mother also died last month. I SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THE CALL.

I was dealing with a tough transition of my son going to a new school, acquiring senior services for both my parents who are now over 80 years old, getting a cortisone shot in my knee, and trying to fight to make sure that reckless drivers with over 160 violations like the one who took the life of a three-month-old girl in my District are held accountable and never drive again. I SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THE CALL.

I was watching the recent photos that surfaced of our Haitian brothers and sisters being met at the Del Rio Border in Texas with lassoes and ropes, like something out of the 1800s on a slave plantation. I SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THE CALL.

Shootings continue to plague our community and I have been working with my community partners to form key coalitions to address the violence that has taken too many too soon. I SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THE CALL.

Original Article Courtesy of BK Reader: Read Full Article Here