Louis Farrakhan speaks at the Van Dyke Houses about gun violence
Louis Farrakhan, the fiery leader of the Nation of Islam, directed his ire at New York City’s black community on Monday, saying it must take responsibility for the scourge of gun violence.
“They are building prisons, and who are they for? Not for the white man,” he told an almost entirely black crowd at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn. “Nobody cares about you. You are the product of your former slave masters. You are not as bad as you are acting.”
“You ain’t manufacturing no guns, but you got some,” the minister said in a sermonic speech dubbed, “Stop the Killing.”
“Your people are being herded into a life-style — that is going to jail.”
In East New York on Sunday, a short drive from where Farrakhan pontificated about the need for self-inspection within the city’s black community, a 15-year-old boy was cut down a fusillade of gunfire, leaving him in critical condition, police said.
At the Van Dyke Houses on a wild night of mayhem this July, two people were shot, one in the chest, one in the leg.
Well aware of such violence that victimizes or is perpetrated by blacks, or often times both, Farrakhan’s audience of some 200 people regularly broke into loud cheers
Louis Farrakhan, controversial Nation of Islam leader, says black community must take responsibility for gun violence
‘They are building prisons, and who are they for? Not for the white man,’ he told an almost entirely black crowd at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn. ‘Nobody cares about you. You are the product of your former slave masters. You are not as bad as you are acting.’
Farrakhan is telling us what we need to hear. We need to focus on seeing each other as brothers, not enemies,” said Charles Bemore, 23, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. “He’s the leader we need. He speaks the truth.”
Farrakhan, 79, has had a controversial career as a motivator and leader of the black community. He has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism; he once called Jews “the greatest controllers of black minds.” But to his credit he also organized the largely successful Million Man March in 1995 to address the role of black men in the home and community.
His speech on Monday avoided touching on many controversial topics, including the NYPD’s widespread use of stop, question and frisk tactics, which have impacted blacks in disproportionate numbers and fueled unrest between the community and police.
Farrakhan’s message that blacks must look at themselves to stanch urban violence echoed that of NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who irritated some leaders and elected officials in the black community this summer when he called on black voices to speak out forcefully gun violence.
“There should be outcry that 96% of the shooting victims in this city are black or Latino,” Kelly said in July. “Most of them are young men. When you look at it, at the end of the day, you sense there’s reasons as to why people are being killed. There should be a huge outcry, but there isn’t.”
Farrakhan’s sense of outrage over the consistent violence within the black community was palpable, and he said he was not done with his preaching.
“I’m on my way to Queens, because there are some killings going on over there,” he said.