Parent hopes to protect against violence

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Concerned parent and citizen Jeanette Delgado speaks at the city of Dunkirk’s Common Council meeting Tuesday.

On May 15, a tragic event took place on Lincoln Avenue in the city of Dunkirk. A 15-year-old girl named Jefrena C. Brown was brutally stabbed, dying a day later at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.

Since that day, the community has been outraged, asking questions, wanting answers, hoping something will come along to assuage their fears.

One citizen and concerned parent in the city, Jeanette Delgado, has decided to take it a step further and literally throw herself into the thick of it. Delgado has placed herself in Washington Park after school lets out every day, to watch out for potential violence.

“I’ve taken it upon myself, as a concerned parent and citizen to start what I call ‘peace in the park,'” Delgado stated at the Common Council meeting Tuesday. “Everyday I vow, until the end of the school year and probably into next school year, to be a presence of the community in Washington Park between 2:30 and 4 p.m., so that when outbreaks of fights or violence between children break out, that there will at least be one responsible adult in the area at the time in order to regulate the situation.”

Delgado went on to add that she feels that in a moment such as this, that perhaps some parents in the area might wish to help out.

“I’m hoping that as days go on, that more people are present, because it takes a village to raise a child,” she added. “We can’t expect our police officers and government officials to watch every child in the city at all times, it’s impractical. So if any concerned parents would like to join me, feel free to, everyday, in the park, to just help make sure that our community and our children are safe.”

Delgado’s concern is that kids know when things are unsupervised in the city and plan fights during that short window of time.

“Because of the situation of the police having to be on line-up and the teachers being in the schools, unless the community steps in and bridges the gap, there’s no way to get around this. Fighting has been going on in the park for over 30 years and if the kids know they have a 20-minute window they’re going to use it,” Delgado told the OBSERVER after the meeting. “I just don’t think that the people living around the park should have to take on that responsibility alone.”

Police are continuing to gather information about the incident that took place on Lincoln Avenue and ask the public to call with any leads or tips they might have. To do so anyone with information can call the department at 366-2266 or they can leave an anonymous tip on the department’s tip line at 363-0313. All calls will be kept confidential.