Elected officials and anti-gun violence advocates kicked off Gun Violence Awareness Month in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Organizers said the rally was meant to bring communities together to combat the problem.
Some at the event took issue with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's comments following last week's deadly shooting at Irving Plaza, when he referred to rap artists as "thugs," stating that rap musicians, "celebrate violence they did all their lives."
"It is easy for those of us who sit in the ivory tower to talk about what is happening in the community," said Tamika Mallory, the co-chair of the awareness campaign. "Unless you come to the street, unless you support those who are standing here, unless you are working with our young people, you should shut up."
"I am the mother of a 17-year-old child," Mallory continued. "At any moment, he could be a victim. Will you call him a thug?"
In 2013, New York became the first state to devote an entire month to gun violence awareness.