I Will Not Forget Arileida Jimenez, My Neighbor
On bright morning of Thursday, June 21, 2018, Ms. Arileida Jimenez, 45, was gun down around 9:45 steps away from her home. Ms. Jimenez was not fighting or arguing with anyone. She was not robbing or stealing. She was not in a wrong place or a wrong time. She was not a menace or nuisance. She was not a liability or burdensome. She was nor a drug dealer or a gang member. She was not a bad person or a bad neighbor. Why was she slaughtered then?
Ms. Jimenez was murdered simply because she was in the Bronx. She was working to make health care available to her neighbors when she was shot dead. She didn’t know her killer nor was she the intended target of her killer. She was killed because she was in the streets accustomed to bloodsheds. Street where seeing blood spill is as common as seeing rainwater. The streets in which violent crimes are normalized, accepted and expected. Ms. Jimenez unfortunately lived in a borough where everyone is directly or indirectly touched by violence.
As a matter of fact, the spot where Ms. Jimenez took her last breath, she was the third person to make the last breath from the same gun, in the hands of same killer who came out of a neighborhood where too many residents, especially the young ones, are used to taking their last breaths from killers with killing machines.
So I was deeply affected by this senseless daylight mass murders in my neighborhood that I made a promise to do something about it before more Arileida Jimenezes experience similar fate. In addition to organizing a community prayer vigil on the spot, I had launched a “Gang Free Zone” campaign with the expectation of making it a state bill. We are fully cognizant of the fact that crime and violence aren’t inevitable and are only common where they’re tolerated.
Although I did not know who Ms. Arileida Jimenez was prior to her assassination, my commitment to her is to organize future and bigger prayer vigils and to work with state legislators to pass “Gang Free Zone” bill for her this year. I will do it for her as a caring neighbor!
Sheikh Musa Drammeh
Community Peace Patrol Officers (CPPO)