As the weather warms up, there are concerns in Harlem about gang violence erupting, and so two parents are continuing their unlikely crusade to help bring peace to their neighborhood as police work to do the same. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Two parents are continuing to battle the odds as an unlikely crime fighting duo.
Taylonn Murphy's teenage daughter, Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy, was killed in 2011 at the Grant Houses in Harlem. Arnita Brockington's son, Tyshawn, was one of two young men convicted in her murder. The parents have started what they call Both Sides of the Gun to raise awareness about the pain caused by pulling the trigger.
"In this neighborhood, it's the 'kill or be killed' motto, or if somebody does something offensive to me, I have to do something offensive back to them," Taylonn Murphy said. "What we're trying to do is change the mindset of the young people, as well as the adults, to 'live and let live.'"
A section of Old Broadway between 125th and 126th streets, in the middle of the Grant and Manhattanville houses, is a big part of the plan. The block is currently being fix up by the city and will be used as a play street. The parents want to make it a safe haven corridor, a place to escape from the violence and encourage peace between the gangs.
"If we continue, maybe some of them will stop. We know not all of them, but some of them will pay attention and stop. Because some kids is in it, they don't want to be in it, they just been followers," Arnita Brockington said.
Followers or leaders, gang members are being investigated for ongoing violence. Police watch towers have been placed between the two developments.
Law enforcement sources say gangs in the area, including "Money Ave," "Make It Happen" and "2 Stacks," are responsible for at least two murders and dozens of shootings.
Community advocate Derrick Haynes said anyone involved must be punished, but local organizations and city agencies must provide services.
"Juvenile-specific programming," Haynes said. "I'm talking about re-entry for juveniles. I'm talking about GED training. I'm talking about OSHA training that leads to jobs."
Hopefully, both community and city programs will lead to a decrease in violence.