On May 16, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School held its third annual Peace Block Fair. Three years ago, the fair was created to honor students who have been killed due to gang and gun violence–students who went to Fannie Lou and also those outside of Fannie Lou who lost their lives due to this issue.
One student killed in gun violence, Damien Martinez, was remembered by a classmate. Nashali Batista, who graduated from Fannie Lou, said “I knew Damien by going to middle school with him. He lived right up the block from me. Damien Martinez was like my brother, family and best friend and I wish it had never happened.”
After experiencing these events, the students of Fannie Lou TV, a video production class in the school, decided to create the Peace Fair and bring awareness on gun and gang violence in the community.
Every single student from Fannie Lou attended the Peace Fair this year, so it was staged by class. The first classes to go to the peace fair were freshmen and sophomores and the last classes to attend were the juniors and seniors.
Many different activities were available for the students to participate in—such as basketball, foosball, button making and many others. At the fair, there were also information tables from groups such as Healthy Eating in the Community and the Gay-Straight Alliance, which is a student-run club that brings together straight and LGBT students to support each other, create a safe environment and create activism to fight homophobia and transphobia. Another information table was Bronx Defenders, which is an organization that helps students and their families deal with legal challenges.
In conclusion, the 2013 Peace Fair was a success. At the end, students gathered with white and purple balloons, releasing them into the air to honor victims of gun and gang violence.
Click here to look through pictures of the Peace Fair.
Written by Sonia Rodriguez. Sonia is a senior at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, a Children's Aid community school. This fall, she will be attending SUNY Purchase.