LittleAfrica News wants to give a special shout out and Happy Birthday to Jackie Rowe-Adams on her 75th Jubilee. Rowe-Adams has been at the forefront leading anti-gun violence efforts in New York City for decades.
Rowe-Adams is a resident of Harlem and founder of Harlem Mothers SAVE (Stop Another Violent End), an organization that serves as a voice against gun violence in the community and as a support group for those families who have lost their children to gun violence. Rowe-Adams founded Harlem Mothers SAVE as a reaction to the loss of two of her sons. Both of them were killed in senseless incidents of gun violence. At the time of her loss, she had joined a support group, feeling sad and yearning for support but her pain turned into outrage. An outrage that she says fuels her to this day. “There was one day when there were so many shootings, I got up in the middle of the night and I said, ‘Who’s giving these guns to these kids? I can’t take it anymore. Someone has to do something about it,’” she said.
Rowe-Adams was born in Harlem. She worked with the New York City Parks Department for over three decades. Rowe-Adams worked for the department as a citywide music specialist, one of her duties was teaching the elderly how to sing. It is said that she has a beautiful singing voice. She was given the nickname “Nightingale” and has sung in many noteworthy venues in the city including Shea Stadium and Gracie Mansion. She has appeared on the Off-Broadway stage, performing in the musical, ‘Mama, I Want to Sing’. Her other performances include singing the National Anthem at Shea Stadium and at the opening of the Special Senior Olympics in Syracuse. Rowe-Adams also served as manager of recreation at the Parks Department. Some of the best work she did while in that role was the renovation and transformation of Morningside Park. While working in this position, she was able to directly see the problems that afflicted children in that area. But her biggest passion is helping the community become better. When she started Harlem Mothers SAVE, it was only made up of 5 members. Now the group has more than 50 members. These are people who did not willingly join the group but were forced to due to unwanted circumstances. Nonetheless, Harlem Mothers SAVE is a necessity in the community of Harlem. It is a valuable platform to share the pain and be pillars of support for one another. Rowe-Adams does not believe that one man can change the world. It is a community’s job to make sure their surrounding areas are safe and that everyone is vigilant. She encourages parents to get involved in their children’s life, inspecting their rooms once in a while. For the youth in the community, she suggests that if they know of any violence that might happen, they should report it immediately.
For the amount of work that she has done, there is the feeling that not much has changed. Harlem Mothers SAVE has a new member joining them at every meeting. The group meets every month at a table surrounded by photos of their deceased children. “We are dealing with new mothers every month. We thought it would stop. It’s worse now than ever,” Rowe-Adams said. “Every time we come, there is always a new mother. There are so many mothers since I’ve come a few months ago,” said Mona Brown, a mother who also lost her son to rampant gun violence. Harlem Mothers SAVE have called for a more prominent police presence in the streets. The organization does not agree with the idea of defunding the police, a stance regularly shared by those in the Black Lives Matter movement. “When we defund these police, whose community is going to suffer? Certainly won’t be the white communities,” said Denise Paul, an activist. Adam-Rowe and her fellow activists want the police to be funded well enough to carry out their jobs effectively. They want visibility, good investigative work that leads to the finding and incarceration of the killers in the community.
The fight against gun violence has been long and difficult yet Jackie Rowe-Adams is not throwing in the towel. “I’m so glad we are out here today to cause change. It is so important we get these guns off the streets. Every day someone is being shot and dying. Enough is enough,” she said.
LittleAfrica News says thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do for our children and our community, and Happy 75th Birthday Queen!