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.
“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.”