Starting this Friday, Aug. 17, the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network (NAN) will commence execution of its “Occupy the Corners” initiative in New York City. “Occupy the Corners” is community mobilization effort intended to help curb the rising tide of gun violence in urban metropolitan areas.
The plan is to station a group of concerned citizens at intersections notorious for crime and to have them literally both take a stand against these activities and to shine a light on them.
The objectives of the program are: a) to stand as symbols of positivity, b) to engage with people from the community to figure out what their needs are, c) to build trust between NAN volunteers and the various unsettled areas, and d) to begin to establish order on the streets.
A NAN press release gives more detail on the specific “Occupy The Corners” tactics:
Each weekend, NAN and community activists, politicians, church leaders, and the like, will stand on corners in “hotspot” areas throughout the city, watching for any signs of violence, talking to residents, and take back the streets. OTC is not a patrol, says Sharpton, but an opportunity to show strong real-life neighborly support in our communities most plagued by gun violence.
Each “Occupy The Corners” gathering will take place between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m Friday through Sunday.
The effort seems like a combination of protest and neighborhood watch. Not sure if NAN’s “Occupy The Corners” will work or sustain, but at least it is an effort at calling attention to a grave problem plaguing our cities. Even in cities with strict gun control measures, securing a weapon from states with considerably less regulation keeps illegal weapons accessible and American streets as violent and volatile as war zones.
In light of the recent spate of gun attacks in rural and suburban areas and the lack of any real call for gun control from President Obama, perhaps NAN’s next initiative will have to be “Occupy The Theaters”, “Occupy The Campuses” or “Occupy The Temples.”