Who among us was not horrified by the news about Luis Troncoso, who was gunned down in broad daylight on the basketball court near Stony Brook Station on April 21? How cruel and unfair! Young people, friends, family and neighbors are right to memorialize his death and grieve openly. And we all should ask ourselves: How can we do better? How can we protect the young people in our city, especially young men of color, as far too many are victims of gun violence?
How unfair—that people have to live with the knowledge that they and their children are not safe. They are not even safe to play in the parks, as any young person or child should be free to do. How unfair for the family to have a son, a brother, a father taken from them. How unfair for friends to have a peer taken from them. How horrible for young people who witnessed the shooting.
So much unfairness leads to a question: How can we help? There is a fund through Spontaneous Celebrations to help the family cover funeral expenses. There has been a nightly vigil we could attend to stand with Luis’s friends who are there to remember him. These are small expressions of solidarity. The larger task is to find ways to equally ensure the safety of all people, especially the youths in our city.
It’s not enough to call for more police. Safety is a basic human need, critical to human development. Higher-level needs that contribute to a broad sense of security include having access to decent jobs, a living wage, stable homes, adequate health care, functional schools and engaging cultural outlets. Ideally, each of us would recognize each other’s humanity while working together to create and maintain a sense of community.
As we grieve the loss of Luis Troncoso, let’s come together to address underlying insecurities; let’s work to make sure everyone feels safe.