Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tales of Loss and Grief

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tales of Loss and Grief

Article excerpt

PATERSON -- Asked by a speaker if they had family members who had been struck by violence, dozens in the audience -- including Genesis Rincon's mother -- raised their hands.

One by one, city residents offered emotional testimony about the torment violence has inflicted on their lives and their communities at a public hearing Monday evening. More than 200 people packed the Passaic County Community College auditorium.

The hearing, held by the state's Study Commission on Violence, comes as city residents are reeling from the deaths of Genesis, 12, who was shot to death on Rosa Parks Boulevard while riding her scooter on the July 4th weekend, and 14-year-old Nazerah Bugg, a high school freshman who was gunned down on the corner of Clinton and North Main streets Sept. 20 while walking with friends.

But there were more stories of loss and grief.

Angel Morris cried as she told the commissioners, "My son was killed and shot in the head and just left in the dirt, in the gutter."

She showed the audience a photo of her son. "I miss him like crazy," she said. "I need the pain to go away. My son was an excellent, excellent person in school."

In attendance were Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes, who is chairwoman of the Study Commission on Violence; Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, Democrats from Paterson; Councilman Domingo "Alex" Mendez and other officials.

Some speakers said more after-school programs, recreation, reentry programs and jobs were needed.

Darlene Morris, saying a nephew was killed, called on those who have influence over city youth, like clergy and parents, to intervene.

"We have to do our parts as well," she said.

The Rev. Alan Boyer, pastor of Bethel AME in the crime-ridden 4th Ward, echoed her message: "Parents should have some responsibility for the actions of their children. …

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