Photo Credit: NY Daily News- Valerie Bell, next to portrait of son, Sean Bell, who was notoriously killed in 2006 in hail of police gunfire.

Five years after being killed by a hail of bullet from police guns, Sean Bell is living on through his legacy. Today in the Queens neighborhood where he grew up, Bell’s family are opening a community center in his name.

The Sean Elijah Bell Community Center will offer tutoring and mentoring programs for children and adolescents, GED programs and job-training programs for adults. The Center also hopes to be a safe after-school haven, attracting children with computers, foosball and net-hockey tables donated by the local branch of the NAACP.

Funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the center is expected to serve up to 5,000 Queens residents on a yearly basis.

Speaking about the opening, Anthony Anderson, managing director of the Sean Elijah Bell Foundation told The New York Daily News:

“It’s something that’s well needed in the community. There’s a lot of kids hanging out on the streets because there’s nowhere to go.”

Leading a march to commemorate the Center’s opening, Sean Bell’s mother, Valerie said her son was a “giving young man.”

Bell who would have been 28 this past Wednesday, was killed leaving his bachelor party November 25, 2006. Just hours before his wedding, three New York City Police detectives sprayed over 50 bullets at the car containing Bell and his friends. All three men acquitted of all charges of manslaughter at their 2008 trial.

While she cannot bring back her son, Valerie says she wants his spirit and legacy to live on through the center, saying:

“Life is too short not to be happy and do things for other people.”

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  • Lady T

    Absolutely beautiful. May the community center succeed in this endeavors. Sending positive vibes out…

  • My Eyes May Never Dry

    What is behind the story this time of a young brother shot down before he was to wed?
    Was it necessary for fifty bullets to be discharged before it would result in him being dead?

    In this day, are we still faced with the same injustices of yesterday as we shall not forget?
    Are the same prejudices passed down through generations tucked behind plastic smiles and volleyed through invisible nets?

    Is it still an assumption that the Black man on the street is always up to no good?
    Is it the thought still that the Black man does not care about his own neighborhood?

    Perhaps it is in the subconscious mind that the Black man is uninformed and does not care?
    Do some still hold the thought the Black man is uneducated and of the oppressive undermining is not astutely aware?

    Is it the way he looks that causes fear in others or the concentration of determination in achieving his goals?
    Or the fear that if the truth be made known who really built the pyramids more lies would unfold?

    Is it the stereotypical idea that the Black man is a pimp, drug dealer or prison mate forever?
    Is it the media’s portrayal of the Black man in a bad light which is used as a tool to undermine his character?

    Is it the Black man who is seen as a sell-out causing his own nation to fall?
    Like the one who goes along with the program instead of us, he says you all?

    What really causes another man to destroy another or even think to tread upon his God given rights?
    Perhaps it is only the stereotypical prejudices because of another’s color which determines another’s plight?

    Just like you, the Black man is a man who takes pride in all the good he does
    Perfectly capable of what we call success and definitely full of love

    When coupled with the love for God, he takes care of his own
    He stands tall and he is respected as the head of his home

    I should not have fear of losing him to violence when he is in or out of my sight
    Neither at the hands of a criminal, or from the law which is definitely not right!

    As a Black woman, I will fight the fight I need to support my brother and I will never stop trying
    Perhaps some day, there will be equality in mankind and my eyes will stop their crying

    Only God can set this thing right and only He knows the reasons why
    Until He settles the ungodly injustices our Black men suffer, my eyes may never dry
    Copyright© 2006, by Arene

    • Laila Apples

      Nice poem.The site your name links to has some really nice poems on them as well.

  • Jay

    Bless that family. I remember the day I first heard about the story. I was so heartbroken for that family but look how far they’ve come. =) God bless the family