Organizers of the Caribbean pre-dawn celebration, J’ouvert, will be moving the festivities from nighttime to daytime in order to combat the fatalities and the violence that has taken place over previous years.
J’ouvert City International President Yvette Rennie believes that the “darkness is when everything bad happens.” That’s the premise in what led her to make a decision to celebrate this popular event during the daylight hours.
Town hall meetings along with discussions with local officials and other grassroots organizations all agreed with the decision to move the celebration from night to day, according to Rennie.
J’ouvert will now begin at 6am instead of 2am; the West Indian Day Parade will then follow with their scheduled procession at 11am.
Concern grew amongst many parade-goers and city officials who recall unfortunate events from prior years, such as the death of Carey Gabay, 42-year-old and former aid to Governor Cuomo was shot by a stray bullet in 2015, as well as Tyreke Borel, 17, and Vertina Brown, 22, who were also fatally shot during the parade festivities last year, Gothamist reports.
Crown Heights Assemblyman Walter Mosley stated that he can “no longer support” the event “which had become synonymous with gun violence,” DNAinfo reports. Other politicians supported that notion as well after hearing about the aforementioned fatalities last year and the year previous.
Councilwoman Laurie Cuomo stated “The only way that I can imagine that you cancel it, if that’s what we’re seriously talking about, would be to impose a curfew, and maybe bringing in the National Guard, or martial law,” DNAinfo reports.
Councilman Jumaane Williams (Flatbush) does not think that the situation needs to go that far. He believes there should be a grieving period for those lost and then having a conversation about the event and “take every suggestion and put it on the table, DNAinfo reports.
State Senator Jesse Hamilton suggested an “age requirement;” along with other politicians like Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams who hope to see the return of the parade. Adams mentioned that after the 2015 shootings, he deployed a task force designed to create “modifications” for J’ouvert and other parade events throughout Brooklyn.
Although politicians and residents seem to be split, one thing is certain – J’ouvert will still be happening and the Caribbean communities will definitely be in attendance to show solidarity for each other and their respective countries.
Featured Image Credit: The Undefeated