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A Triple Shooting Sparks the Love and Not Hate Movement in East Orange

Dy-Shawn Simpkins and his wife, Deborah, turn the tragic killing of their son, Dy-Shawn Simpkins, Jr. into a movement to bring peace to East Orange, NJ

Dy-Shawn Simpkins aka Deacon Don DyDy sat down with Kizzy Cox and Onika McLean, the hosts of What’s The 411, to talk about his Love and Not Hate Movement.

Long before the tragic murders that shattered their peace occurred, Deborah and Dy-Shawn Simpkins were committed to providing kids with alternatives to street violence. The New Jersey couple’s after-school programs and day care centers have created safe havens for over 650 Irvington kids annually for the last nine years alone. Meanwhile, their community outreach has been active in the region for over 15 years.

Despite such passionate devotion, the nation's violence has grown exponentially, and East Orange, like other urban centers that have fallen victim to violence. This was never more apparent to the couple than when their own son, Dy-Shawn Simpkins Jr., 18, along with their nephew Kee-Ayre Griffin, 29, were killed in a triple shooting in East Orange. The senseless murders interrupted the promising lives of Simpkins, Jr—with his athletic career at Norfolk State University (NSU); and Griffin—a former student-athlete at Temple University where he played football after attending Saint Peter's Prep.

In dealing with the hateful killings, it was the community’s support that showed the couple the tools to fight the trauma, such as when the entire NSU football team arrived to join in a massive outpouring of love at Simpkins Jr’s funeral.

The outpouring of love for Simpkins and family and for their community continued with the Love and Not Hate March & Movement on Saturday, August 12, 2017, at 8:00 a.m., in East Orange, NJ. Organized by Simpkins’s own nonprofit of seven years, the GAP Program (Gang Alternative Program), and other nonprofits collectively known as Community United As One. The group, along with the title sponsor, East Orange City Council, used the march as a kickoff to an annual event that brings awareness to the gun violence epidemic with an aim to ending this scourge on the community.

The Reverend Al Sharpton led a lineup of pastors and political luminaries including Sheila Oliver, candidate for Lieutenant Governor for New Jersey, and rap icon Vin Rock aka Uncle Vinnie from the Grammy award-winning hip-hop trio Naughty by Nature.

 

Deacon Don Dy Dy Reverend Al Sharpton and others

The Reverend Al Sharpton (center) with Dy-Shawn Simpkins on the far right.

 

 

Sheila Oliver embracing Deacon Don Dy Dy IMG 5315 600x400

Sheila Oliver, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, giving Dy-Shawn Simpkins aka Deacon Don DyDy a heartfelt embrace

 

Vinnie from Naughty by Nature and Sheila Oliver NJ Lieutenant Governor Candidate onstage IMG 5301 600x400

Sheila Oliver, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, on stage with Vin Rock from Naughty by Nature looking on.

 

Following the march and speakers, Dy-Shawn Simpkins, Sr. performed the song, “Seeds in the Field” that he recorded with his son before the tragedy. The event included other performers and turned into a real family day with music, food, youth activities, vendors, sports, back to school giveaways and more.

To contact Dy-Shawn Simpkins for more information about, and to help support, the Love and Not Hate Movement in East Orange, go to his website, www.DeaconDonDyDy.com, and Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/deacondondydy.simpkins

New Jersey Community Stands up to Violence

A Triple-Shooting Sparks a Love-Not-Hate Movement and March in East Orange, NJ hosted by rap icon Vinnie Brown with the Rev. Sharpton invited to speak

Long before the tragic murders that shattered their peace, Deborah, and Dy-Shawn Simpkins were committed to providing kids with alternatives to street violence. The New Jersey couple's after-school programs and day care centers have created safe havens for over 650 Irvington kids annually for the last nine years alone. Additionally, their community outreach has been active in the region for over 15 years.

Despite such passionate devotion, the nation's violence has grown exponentially. This was never more apparent to the couple than when their own son, Dy-Shawn Simpkins Jr., 18, along with their nephew Kee-Ayre Griffin, 29, were killed in a triple shooting in East Orange. The senseless murders interrupted the promising lives of Simpkins, Jr. who had a promising athletic career at Norfolk State University (NSU); and Griffin, a former student athlete at Temple University where he played football after attending Saint Peter's Prep.

In dealing with the hateful killings, it was the East Orange community's support that showed the couple the tool to fight the trauma. The entire NSU football team arrived to join in a massive outpouring of love at Simpkins Jr.’s funeral. Now everyone is asked to participate in a march with the theme, Love and Not Hate March & Movement, as the core message. Organized by Simpkins's own non-profit of seven years, the GAP Program (Gang Alternative Program), and other nonprofits collectively known as Community United As One, the groups, along with the title sponsor, the East Orange City Council, will use the march as a kickoff to an annual event that brings awareness to the ongoing violence epidemic.

The march will culminate in a musical segment where Dy-Shawn Simpkins, Sr. will perform the song, Seeds in the Field that he recorded with his son before the tragedy. Simpkins Sr. will release the spiritually potent music as Deacon Don DyDy, as a beacon to lure the hip hop generation toward a holier message.

Invited guests include the Reverend Al Sharpton and a lineup of pastors and political luminaries: Ted Green Council President and newly elected Mayor of East Orange, NJ; Reverend Timothy Huff; Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss; and, Pastor Jerry Smith. Rap icon Vinnie Brown aka Uncle Vinnie from Grammy award winning hip hop trio Naughty by Nature is set to host.

The march will commence on Saturday, August 12th at 8:00 am beginning at Hollywood and Central Avenues in East Orange, NJ and ending at Oval Park in East Orange, NJ. From there, all will celebrate the Community United As One from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm with events, music, food, youth activities, vendors, sports, back to school giveaways and more!

Updates will be made via Simpkins' Facebook social media account at https://www.facebook.com/deacondondydy.simpkins

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