A Rockaway Guardian

It was a 32F degree day. There were wind gusts of up to 40mph. It was two days before Christmas and ‘Miss Sharon’ Plummer was there with a couple of other day trip Queens based organizations, trying to bring some kind of holiday party to the children of Far Rockaway.

Sharon has been running this distribution post, Rockaway Guardians, in Far Rockaway for almost two months at this stage. Since the first days after the hurricane, she has been a pillar of hope and resources for everyone in the surrounding areas. She began in front of the Laundromat on Seagirt & Beach 26th Street, then was kicked out of the nearby Community Garden (they apparently wanted to plant in Winter) and was then working out of an empty city lot in a makeshift marquis tent.

This was Sharon’s way of giving back to the community after receiving immense support from her neighbors when her 18 year old son, Shawn, was shot dead not a block from their home almost six months ago. Apparently a case of mistaken identity.

The incident is nothing new in Far Rockaway. A distinctly poor community, armed youths incite violence in the Summer months among their peers. “There’s up to one shootin’ a month!”, Sharon tells me in her Jamaican accent. “They got nuttin’ bettah ta do!”

Sharon has three other sons. Her dream is to create some kind of youth program to get these kids out of the streets and into schools and programs. Give them something good to do instead of causing trouble.

She would also love to continue giving back to her devastated community by running the Rockaway Guardians hub. However, with her semi-outdoor headquarters, no indoor venue available and the colder Winter months upon us, she has now had to shut down her aid to the local residents in need.

Kisha Bari is an Australian photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her ongoing work in the Rockaways post Sandy can be seen on her blog www.howsandyhitrockaway.tumblr.com You can see her commercial work at www.kishabari.com