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Light the Street Ceremony hopes to foster change

Light the Street Ceremony hopes to foster change

A Light the Street Ceremony is scheduled for Schenectady Street Saturday evening at 8 p.m., where or
Light the Street Ceremony hopes to foster change
A memorial for Medina Knowles has grown in size in front of 524 Schenectady St. on Wednesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

The details of the event are specific and hopeful. The event itself is brought about by sadness.

The event is a Light the Street Ceremony scheduled for Schenectady Street Saturday evening at 8 p.m., where organizers hope neighborhood residents and others will gather to remember Medina Knowles and make change.

“We will stand in solidarity against violence in our community,” the event’s Facebook page reads. “No more murders. No more violent crime. No more burying children. Come stand with us and re-educate a generation.”

The event is hosted by the local group Young Urban Leaders Academy and it’s scheduled to take place nine days after a man gunned down the 17-year-old Knowles, the mother of a 2-year-old boy, inside her 524 Schenectady St. apartment.

Knowles's boyfriend, 19-year-old Raekwon Stover, is now charged in her death.

Pierre Thompson, of the Young Urban Leaders Academy, said he wants the event to highlight the ills facing the Hamilton Hill neighborhood and the violence and the conditions and acts that lead to it.

The event’s Facebook page Wednesday evening showed 61 people saying they are going, while another 56 expressed interest.

A post on the page reading “Love>hate #BULLYPROOF” had 14 likes.

Thompson said Schenectady Street is a natural place to hold the event, not only to mark Knowles's death but for other violence in the area in recent years.

The street is now home to four memorials from Strong Street to Hamilton Street — two marking killings from October 2012, one a killing from July 2015 and Knowles’ from this month.

The city’s four 2016 killings, all from gunfire, happened within blocks of each other, one in an apartment on Paige Street, the first two on Germainia Street and Knowles in her Schenectady Street apartment.

Light the Street Ceremony

Where: Schenectady Street

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Thompson said he wants to ensure street lights are working. He wants to see smaller crimes, like loitering, focused on and abandoned buildings addressed.

“The underworld likes to deal in the shadows,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he knows Knowles's family through Knowles’s mother. He called Knowles’s mother a woman who worked hard to raise her children.

The family, he said, is a good one. “She didn’t deserve to die like that,” Thompson said.

He said he got the idea for the Light the Street Ceremony while lighting a candle at the memorial that has popped up outside Knowles’s apartment. He said he left the memorial at night and a nearby street light was out.

A National Grid spokesman said the company recently fixed a street light on nearby Hamilton Street, but they haven’t received a notification for a street light out on Schenectady Street. Reports of street lights out can be made to National Grid.

Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, [email protected] or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.

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