The Cornell Benjamin Memorial Park Campaign

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The Cornell Benjamin Memorial Park Campaign

Students at Satellite Academy High School were learning about a People's History of the Bronx. They read the graphic memoir Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker by Julian Voloj. The memoir paints a picture of the South Bronx during the tumultuous 60s and 70s. One of the many gangs in the South Bronx, the Ghetto Brothers, decided to take a different approach. Influenced by the work of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords, the Ghetto Brothers worked to foster peace between the gangs and strengthen the neighborhood through community service and rehabilitation programs. Cornell Benjamin, also known as Black Benji, was the Peace Ambassador for the Ghetto Brothers. Tragically, he was killed trying to mediate a truce between two rival gangs. His untimely death sparked a enormous Peace Meeting at the Hoe Avenue Boys and Girls Club which led to a borough-wide truce between gangs. Benjy Melendez, president and co-founder of the Ghetto Brothers visited Satellite Academy and spoke to students about the work that they could do to keep Cornell's memory alive.

This meeting inspired the students of Satellite Academy to take action. They hope to deliver postcards to the South Bronx City Council representative, Rafael Salamanca Jr., asking that Councilmember Salamanca rename the park where Cornell Benjamin was killed as a tribute to his efforts to build peace. Please upload a photo and write a message in support of their campaign. Your photo and message will become a physical postcard delivered directly to Councilmember Salamanca.

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