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Community Leaders Seek To End Continuous Gun Violence With New Leadership In City Hall

Mayoral Candidate Richard Thomas Holds Press Conference at Campaign Office In Response To Recent Shooting

Thomas to Lead Group of Community Leaders to
Declare Independence from Gun Violence, Mismanagement

“I have seen the transition of African Day and Michael Jackson events at Memorial Field to … day time shootings and a “Mountain of Debt” billowing from the now shuttered Memorial Field.”

Mount Vernon, NY — Mount Vernon City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Richard Thomas, lead a group of community leaders, parents, and business owners to “Declare Independence from Gun Violence and City Mismanagement,” at his campaign headquarters for Mayor of Mt. Vernon, NY., at 133 So. 4th Avenue, Saturday afternoon.

In direct response to the senseless act of gun violence, Thomas called on community leaders to join him to address a rash of shooting including the double homicide of two men leaving the infamous adult entertainment establishment, Sue’s Rendezvous last week and the man who was shot twice in broad daylight on Friday, July 3rd, near his campaign headquarters.

“I remember when 4th Avenue was a destination – a place that you got excited about to go shop and hang out for the day. Those days are long gone and this is a direct result of the city not having an economic game plan to revitalize the local economy. This comes at a cost of $200 million a year lost in economic activity because of the lack of jobs and businesses filling empty storefronts,” Thomas shares with the press.

According to New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there have been over 375 shootings since Ernest Davis took office in Mt. Vernon in 2012 through 2014, resulting in 14 fatalities. The latest act of gun violence continues the rash of shootings following a double homicide just last week.

Community Leaders who spoke included Rev. Jeffrey Wheeler of Mount Calvary C.M.E. Church, Rev. Stephen Pogue, Pastor of Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church, Damon K. Jones the New York Representative of Blacks In Law Enforcement of America and Benyamin Bridges, Founder of Parents Against Teen Violence.

Each speaker spoke out against wide range or topics including illegal gun violence, the need for more mentorships and programs for the youth and declared independence from the mismanagement of Mt. Vernon’s public safety, high taxes, and other irresponsible policies of the Davis administration including the shuttered and debt stricken Memorial Field.

Both Reverend Wheeler and Pastor Pogue prayed for Mt. Vernon, each celebrating and praising Ms. James’ heroism in the face of adversity. They called on the community to come together to implement policies to improve public safety.

Mr. Bridges discussed the work of PATV, which represents families of teens who fell victim to gun violence in Mt. Vernon’s urban streets, in engaging youth throughout the City by holding forums and conferences in the schools throughout the academic year.

Mr. Jones highlighted the need to bolster community policing strategies and to focus administrative actions on hiring more cops from within Mt. Vernon.

“We can become the “Shining City on the Hill” again, but first we must make responsible decisions with respect to our finances, engage our young people, and do something positive about these zombie properties haunting neighborhoods, bringing down home values and threatening public safety,” thomas said in his speech.

You can view a print out of his entire speech here and video of all the speakers below.

Other community leaders in attendance to show their support included City Council candidate Andre Wallace, City Judge candidate Linda Morris, Frank Trolio of Trusco Building Supply & Garden Center, Rev. Chinn from Allen Memorial C.O.G.I.C., Hopeton Willis owner of Dazzles Restaurant (located at 130 S. 4th Ave, across the street from the Thomas For Mayor campaign office), Roberta James – Thomas’ campaign manager (a registered nurse, who rescued the wounded man and kept staff and children safe from harm’s way), City Council candidate Janice Duarte and several other community leaders and residents of Mount Vernon.

“Jobs, community policing, pop up pools/sprinkler systems in parks and more gun buy-back programs will stem rising tide of violence on City streets,” Thomas tell BW after the press conference

Thomas was among a group of Councilpersons nationwide, with Councilman WIlliams from NYC, who were calling for more initiatives to stop gun violence as County Executive Rob Astorino was fighting to repeal the Safe Gun Act in his failed Gubernatorial run in 2014

Stay Tune as we bring you more on this developing story


About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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