In a previous article entitled, “Ending the Epidemic of Violent Black Death,” I wrote about Daryl Washington, an innocent victim of gun violence. I urged readers to see this as a nationwide epidemic rather than an isolated incident.
Since that time, I attended Daryl’s emotional funeral service, listened to some
grieving friends and relatives bear witness to his warm smile, inspiring spirit, and powerful presence, and witnessed an entire community mourn yet another promising person victimized by ignorance and self-hatred via gun shot.
But things did not end with Daryl’s murder, moving testimonies, or tearful pleas for violence to end. Not this time. I’m proud to write that this community, my community, refuses to bury this young man’s spirit in the coffin with him. They/we have decided to honor his memory and raise awareness about gun violence in the Black community.
We have begun on online petition calling on NYC Mayor Bill Dr Blasio, Manhattan Community Board 9, and the New York City Council to rename West 144 Street between Amsterdam and Broadway Avenues (the block where Daryl lived and died) “Daryl Washington Way.”
The petition reads as follows:
This petition comes from the parents, family, friends, neighbors, proprietors, and local residents that knew Daryl Washington and/or were impacted by his inspiring life and tragic death.
Daryl Washington was 27 years-old. He was a college graduate, gainfully employed, law-abiding, humble and mannerly young man. He was not involved with street gangs or criminal activity and was never arrested or in trouble with the law.
On July 29, 2014, Daryl died from a fatal shot to his head at approximately 10:50pm. Contrary to erroneous news reports, Daryl was shot by young men who came to assault his family member. Daryl, always a peacemaker, died trying to prevent the altercation. Daryl had long dreamed of serving fellow New York City residents, which prompted him to take the NYC Fireman Exam. Daryl scored 96% out of 100% but his senseless murder prevented him from fulfilling his dream.
Many people are unfortunately killed by gun violence in NYC (and other large cities) on any given day. Each premature death is tragic, as no life is more valuable than another.
Daryl Washington’s murder resonates with so many relatives, friends and NYC residents, workers and business owners precisely because he represented the very best examples of ambition, self-improvement, community service and integrity that the “Big Apple” represents at its core. Everything from his decision to pursue a career in which he would potentially sacrifice his life to help others, from the way he died, demonstrates a central NYC and American creed: “I am my brother’s keeper.” For all of these reasons and in an effort to raise awareness about gun violence, we request that Manhattan Community Board 9, The New York City Council, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the City of New York, where we live, work, own businesses or do business, co-name West 144th street between Amsterdam and Broadway Avenues, “Daryl Washington Way.”
So far, we’ve gathered over 200 signatures, but our goal is 5000. We are appealing to his relatives, friends, fellow Harlem or NYC residents, and all those concerned about gun violence to sign this petition and spread the word. You can reach the online petition by following the link below. We thank you in advance:
Agyei Tyehimba is an educator, activist and author from Harlem, N.Y. Agyei is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. In April of 2014, he released Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.