Black Families Matter rally seeks to end gun violence

Forty-two-year-old Cleastore Jefferson's life ended Tuesday on a Utica sidewalk. Utica Police found him on the 100 block of James Street, fighting to survive multiple gunshot wounds.

Posted: Jul 25, 2020 9:21 PM

Forty-two-year-old Cleastore Jefferson's life ended Tuesday on a Utica sidewalk. Utica Police found him on the 100 block of James Street, fighting to survive multiple gunshot wounds. While his family mourns, community advocates found themselves uttering a familiar refrain on Saturday, to an audience with one less member. But they won't stop until their message is heard.

"What we're letting the community know is we are not taking this laying down. And we are pleading, we are pleading with the people in the community, if you're thinking about shooting somebody, please don't do that. Find another alternative," said Patrick Johnson, co-organizer of the Black Families Matter rally at Kemble Park, in Utica.

The rally was a chance for community members and advocates to gather in a safe place, and make the the case for change. They were there to demand better from everyone...including themselves.

"It's going to be the people that make the neighborhood safer. Yes, law enforcement is necessary. But it's going to be the people. It's going to be the individuals that says I'm going to change," said Johnson.

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon brought spring water, hand sanitizer and hope to the meeting.

"Our goal is to bring all the stakeholders together in this conversation so we can determine the best way to keep our community safe," said the Assemblywoman.

Johnson is looking for a change in attitude and beliefs. He holds events like Saturday's Black Families Matter rally in hopes of reaching the person who, in the future, might consider pulling a trigger. He wants that person to know there are better alternatives, and he and others are willing to support them and show them the way.

"The victim that was killed a few nights ago-he didn't deserve that. So we have to shift the attitude around what makes it so easy for people to kill."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1967248

Reported Deaths: 51258
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings2600639889
Queens2597329511
Suffolk1908893300
Nassau1750233097
Bronx1727466359
New York1300554297
Westchester1243172235
Erie799591683
Richmond696201739
Monroe597381032
Orange45423782
Rockland45245940
Onondaga35490659
Dutchess27510432
Albany23368343
Oneida21251497
Niagara17780332
Broome17129348
Saratoga14167160
Ulster12791241
Schenectady12252190
Rensselaer10495136
Putnam1005291
Chautauqua8227132
Chemung7052133
Oswego687690
Ontario674091
Steuben6192141
St. Lawrence612594
Sullivan598968
Cayuga579490
Jefferson539263
Wayne513967
Cattaraugus503780
Genesee5005121
Herkimer4868107
Clinton446532
Madison423885
Tompkins400349
Fulton398086
Livingston393658
Montgomery3817114
Columbia379999
Cortland350760
Warren333355
Tioga331658
Wyoming320451
Allegany313383
Otsego311846
Greene307774
Chenango301873
Washington280355
Orleans270283
Lewis242033
Franklin237012
Delaware211236
Seneca184656
Schoharie150315
Essex148526
Yates109226
Schuyler97713
Hamilton2982
Unassigned16592
Out of NY0216
Rome
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Binghamton
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 46°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 43°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Enter the Rock Your Body Giveaway from Alivana Aesthetics
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!