Brooklyn, NY Friday, February 22, 2019, a 15 year-old boy of Haitian descent, named Samuel Joseph, was gunned down on the second floor lobby of an apartment building on Flatbush Avenue in Little Haiti, Brooklyn.
Even in his young age, Samuel Joseph was an inspiration to others in the Flatbush area, encouraging them to take up extracurricular activities to stay preoccupied and out of trouble. When he wasn't at school or at home, he would also frequent the Flatbush YMCA to play basketball games with the other neighborhood children.
"My sincerest condolences go out to Samuel Joseph's family and loved ones," says Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. "Too many bright and talented children are taken too soon. Too many families are left with trauma as a result of senseless violence. Stories like these don't get any less heartbreaking the more I hear them. Gun violence in this community must end. Children, especially those of color, should be allowed to enjoy their childhood without fearing for their lives. My colleagues and I will be watching this story closely. This incident only makes us more fervent in the fight against gun violence and for the protection of children."
Just last month, a slew of bills regulating the usage, purchase, and transport of guns were signed into law. These laws will go into effect later in the year. Assemblymember Bichotte and her colleagues expect these newly minted laws to decrease such incidents as these. As well as gun control, Assemblymember Bichotte has been on the front lines of many initiatives championing the safety of children. An example of legislation she has introduced to that end is A03430, or Jeremiah's Law, which prohibits the filing of false police reports on minors.
She also wants children, like Samuel, to reach their full potential. That is why she has introduced bills such as A01562, which creates a grant program for students pursuing STEM majors in higher education. She has also arduously advocated for the reforming of the Specialized High Schools admission process to make them more inclusive.