Amy Sanchez admitted Monday that she was afraid to come back to the Queensbridge apartment where she was shot eight days earlier.
“But this is home,” she said. “I wanted to see the people.”
The people she was referring to were the more than 200 who attended a rally to welcome Amy home from the hospital, and to call for an end to gun violence in the city.
Amy, 15, was sitting in her apartment just after 5 a.m. on Sept. 23. She had gotten up early to work on an essay for an English class. Gunfire erupted outside, and a stray bullet came through her window, hitting Amy in the hand.
Her left forearm will be in a splint and bandages for another five or six weeks.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) were among those who came to the rally to pay tribute to Amy.
Speakers who live in the neighborhood said gunfire is a common occurrence. Van Bramer said the community and the city need to pull together with combined efforts of families, government, law enforcement and education to reduce it.
“The individual who did this is not Queensbridge,” Van Bramer told the crowd. “We are Queensbridge!”
“I never got up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday to do school work,” Quinn said. “You are ahead of me ... You are not a victim. You are a survivor.”
The rally started in a small courtyard off of 10th Street. It was followed by a march through the apartment complex to the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House on 41st Street.
There, Marion Jeffries, president of the Astoria/Long Island City chapter of the NAACP, said parents can save their children and others from violence, echoing Van Bramer’s call for vigilance on gun crime.
“Make sure you know where your children are going and what they are doing,” she said. “Make sure your child is not the one bringing a gun home. You have to be a detective. Know what they are bringing into your home.”
A Bronx resident, Day Bryant, 37, has been charged with the shooting.
Maloney said Amy’s shooting was yet another example of the need for stricter handgun control legislation.
She, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-Nassau) and others have gun legislation languishing in Washington.
She admits that the issue has gone nowhere in the Republican-controlled House, much like it has received no support in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate or from President Obama.
“But they used to say the same thing about the Zadroga 9/11 bill and the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to do it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Van Bramer, a critic of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy, which has taken more than 800 guns of the street in the last year, said Amy’s shooting does not change his mind.
“This was a random act of violence against an innocent girl,” he said.