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Activists bring anti-gun violence message to sidewalk outside Barclays Center

An interview with Karim Johnson of ManUp Inc./Don't Shoot NYC, which brought several dozen people Friday night to Atlantic Avenue outside the Barclays Center arena before it opened to call attention to their anti-gun violence campaign in hardscrabble neighborhoods like East New York.

What's their message? "We don't want any more shootings or killings... This is the grand opening... [Jay-Z] and his business partners are here, making people consumers and not putting back in the community. We're not against them making money; we're not against Jay-Z or the developers of the Barclays Center, but we want to bring notice to the plight that's going on with the gun violence in our neighborhood."

He said that in better-off areas, people "make assumptions that gun violence does not affect them."

Does rap music glorify violence?

"I'm from the hip hop generation," he responded. "Rap music does not encourage violence. It does not encourage the systematic problems that bring forth this violence. Rap music is a culture, hip-hop is culture, but it's not necessarily the reason why these kids are outside in the street killing each other. .. we're not against the rappers, or the developers of the Barclays Center. We want to them to at least acknowledge us, and let them know that there's something can be done. It may not have to be monetarily, but it can be some kind of support. They have to understand that we are losing lives, unnecessarily, in the street. If you can come establish a business in Downtown Brooklyn, then you can come into the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and help us fight this problem."