Snipes Serves, a branch of the street and sports wear retailer, focused on community support and empowerment, is joining Yvette Ramos, mother of the late Brooklyn rapper Kenneth Casillas, to hold an anti-gun violence community event on Saturday, July 30. The gathering, also supported by Melquain Jatelle Anderson Foundation and other anti gun violence groups will run from 12 to 7 pm outside of Wyckoff Gardens housing complex. Brooklyn’s District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez is expected to join.
The event, “A Mother’s Screamz”, is planned to serve the whole family with talks, food and entertainment for young kids. According to Ramos, it will go further than addressing violence and crime, and the organizations will be gifting food, supplies, and book bags to attendees — plus giving away a $500 gift card to two students.
“We have to let these kids know that there’s so much more out there to protect them and guide them than crime gangs,” said Ramos. “They can join these groups and they will help you get your GED or help you get a job.”
Ramos hopes the event will become a yearly occurrence.
Casillas, also known by his rap name “Nu Money”, a member of Rich Mafia music group, was shot dead in Miami in 2013, where he had just been offered a record deal. His mother has been an advocate against gun violence since, hosting meetings for parents who have lost their kids to violence.
To commemorate Casillas, Ramos started an online petition campaigning to co-name the intersection of Third Avenue and Baltic Street in Boerum Hill after him. More than 700 people signed the petition, and last February, the stretch was dubbed “Kenneth Castilla Way.” Saturday’s event will take place on the same corner.
Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by gun violence, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. Each day, on average, 30 Black Americans are killed by guns and more than 110 are injured, and annually experience 10 times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, and nearly 3 times the fatal shootings by police than white Americans.
“If you lost a child for any reason, I want you to come,” said Ramos. One of her family members dealt with addiction after Casillas’ death, and she said they are all still struggling in different ways.
“I was in a shell for two years, I wasn’t here,” she said. “You might feel alone going through the loss of a child, sometimes you really, really do. But families who go through this need to know they’re not walking by themselves. We are here.”