Full speed ahead: Mayor Adams talks gun violence at discussion, honors Dinkins on second day at work

On Mayor Eric Adams’ second day on the job, he wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

After taking the subway to work at City Hall on his first day, he opted for two wheels on his second day, and took the CitiBike to work. The new top city official had quite the itinerary, commencing with two television interviews. In order to make the appointment, Adams left Gracie Mansion and hopped on a Citi Bike and peddled through Manhattan.

Next, he was back on the subway, traveling to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on 1047 Amsterdam Avenue where he looked to pay respects to former mayor David Dinkins, whose remains rest within the house of worship.

Adams casually walked into the grounds, meeting with those waiting on a food distribution line. He was congratulated and even quizzed for employment aid, after which he was greeted by Father Patrick Malloy the Sub-Dean of St. John the Divine. 

“There is a future Eric Adams on this line,” the mayor said, referring to the bread line and the importance of aiding those in need. Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, food insecurity and other disparities have been exacerbated—and while some have managed a semblance of normalcy others are still struggling to make ends meet. Adams was cognizant of this as he spoke with his constituents before being escorted around the cathedral and shown the historic architecture.

After a brief tour, he reached the final resting place of David Dinkins. With his head bowed, Adams laid a hand on the mausoleum and remained silent for several minutes before joining Father Malloy in a prayer.

The visit concluded with Adams lighting a candle and placing the flickering flame at the foot of the memorial.

Gun violence round table

After visiting the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on 110th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, he walked to 125th Street where he hosted a roundtable on gun violence at Our Children’s Foundation— a non-profit after school educational and recreational organization for children in Harlem.

At the round table press conference, a group of mothers stood beside Adams holding photos of their children who they’ve lost to shootings. Somberly, Adams acknowledged their plight, and assured them he can hear the cries of the voiceless and is dedicated to putting forth preventive measures that involve both the NYPD and community through intervention and collaboration.

At a round table discussion in Our Children’s Foundation headquarters, families held photos of their children who were killed due to gun violence. Photo by Dean Moses
At a round table discussion in Our Children’s Foundation headquarters, families held photos of their children who were killed due to gun violence. Photo by Dean Moses

“I don’t subscribe to the belief of some that we can only have justice and not public safety. We will have them both. Our police officers will be responsible and they will understand how to properly police our city. But we will also send a loud and clear message. You will not bring violence to this city. That is not going to continue to happen in the city of New York,” Adams said.

Adams averred that his stance on public safety should come at no surprise. He shared his plans on fostering a relationship between Brooklyn’s Man Up with Andre T. Mitchell and 696 Build Queensbridge with K Bain, and continuing that coalition throughout the city.

He spoke on stopping crime at its earliest stage through education, identifying learning disabilities, helping with foster care, and other preventive measures. In doing so, he also added that he will roll out with full transparency a plain-clothes anti-gun police division that will focus on taking down gangs and stop the flow of guns into the city. It is through this unit that he says will bring back the surprise element of policing to help better target gun violence.

Mayor Eric Adams discussed tackling gun violence with families who’ve lost their children to violent crimes. Photo by Dean Moses

In addition, Adams acknowledged that the parameters of policing have changed throughout the years. Through the help of the NYPD  joint gun task force, which is made up of prosecutors, law enforcement on the federal, state, and city levels along with district attorneys are coming together to share information and work to combat these issues.

“We are seeing terror that was ignored but that process of ignoring stops on January 1, because I recognize people should not live in fear,” Adams said, citing NYPD reports of shootings increased by 104% over the past year.

He highlighted that it’s not just about stopping gang violence, but his efforts also will work toward providing victims counseling, housing relocation, and other support. Adams added that the families of shooting victims should be included in the conversation and transparency when it comes to cases.

“We want to end the silence and stop looking at victims as numbers but to look at them as human beings and understand that their pain is real and be more compassionate, more caring, more kind City, a word that I use all the time: We have to be more emotionally intelligent,” Adams said.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell reiterated Adams’ stance on their effort to remove illegal guns off of New York City’s streets.

We will not tolerate gun violence in this city that cannot be overstated. We are tackling this head on my focus and intentions are clear. Seize the guns, stop the violence, stop the shooting and save lives. And together we can do that,” Sewell said.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell joined Mayor Eric Adams at a round table discussion on gun violence in Harlem.Photo by Dean Moses

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