Harlem World Magazine caught with President of the 1199SEIU Benefit Fund Staff Association Malkia King with a quick online interview before the first event in honor of Black History Month and Mother’s Who Lost Children To Gun Violence.The event will include Sybrina Fulton / Trayvon Martin, Constance Malcolm / Ramarley Graham, Harlem’s Jackie Rowe- Adams / Anthony Bouldon and Tyrone Bouldon, Amina Baraka / Shani Baraka, Valerie Bell / Sean Bell, Central Park 5.
Harlem World Magazine: Who is the event meant for?
Malkia King: This event is meant for mothers who have lost children due to gun violence. It is to honor their strength and determination to keep living and keeping their children’s legacy alive. This event is to acknowledge these mothers and to reassure them that they are not alone in their grief. We 1199BFSA stand with them and their plight to end gun violence on urban children and people around the world.
HW: What is the purpose of the event?
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MK: The purpose of the event is to educate 1199BFSA members and the general public on social injustice and the seriousness of gun violence on children and how it is destroying the urban communities. many people don’t think this can happen to them or one of their children. However the rapid rate of gun violence on children has become the new pandemic. The issues about gun violence need to be looked at as a public health issue. so that is the purpose to make people aware of the issues surrounding their own community.
HW: Where did the idea for the event come from?
MK: This idea came from me. I am from Newark NJ and the gun violence in my community has gotten out of control. and yes we have a lot of social injustice on Black and Brown children where cops shoot, but what happens when Black children kill each other, it becomes a more serious. I feel it is important to keep putting light on these conditions so that way we as a society can address the issue holistically. gun violence in urban areas are not just concentrated in one city. This is happening throughout the United States and abroad. this is important to me as a mother of a 15 year son and as Black woman.
HW: When is the event? And what is the cost (if any)?
MK: The event will take place on February 21, 2014 at 7:00pm in the 310 W. 43rd St Union Building (Auditorium) and it’s a free event no cost.
HW: Why did you create the event? Why do you feel it is important?
MK: I created this event because I believe as a newly elected President that it is important to celebrate Black History. I wanted to do something entertaining but more educational. It is important to tell our stories and keep our history alive and continuing. I realize that my purpose in life is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and always speak truth to power. Becoming the president was the best thing that has happen to me and my members. Now I have a platform to move my ideas to another level, which will ultimately help my members and community grow in a positive way.
Photo credit: Malkia King with Harry Belafonte, as well as the response to the 5 questions.