Some Staten Island community advocates say they are fed up with violence in the borough. They took to the streets of New Brighton to try to spread a message of peace. As our Elizabeth Keatinge explains, some people may have found their display shocking.
This group is dead serious about stopping violence on Staten Island. "The purpose of the casket is to scare the hell out of the young that are just taking each other's lives senselessly," said Bobby Digi who is with the organization Island Voice.
Dozens of community advocates gathered around this casket at the corner of Jersey and Crescent Streets. Their goal: getting people to think about the end result of violent behavior. "The violence that struck Staten Island is just way out of control," said Sean O'Yant who is with the organization Brothers Care. "It's an unfortunate vicious cycle that we constantly see, is our youth always getting murdered, and always ending up in the caskets," said Shawn Stradford who donated the casket for the event.
This group says it was inspired by the "Occupy the Block" initiative started by Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras Baraka. Dozens turned out earlier this month to try to send a similar message there. "It does start the conversation, the fact that there's a coffin here, starts the conversation, and once the conversation gets started, then it's very easy to invite those people in to some of the services that multiple groups offer, " said John McBeth who is a Deacon at St. Philip's Baptist Church.
Residents say this gets them thinking about how to better themselves, and their community. "It inspires me to stay out of trouble, it inspires me to go to school, it inspires me to go to college, it inspires me not to be another dead person," said New Brighton resident Curtis Jackson. More events are planned for this weekend.
For more information, go to islandvoice.org.