Last week, G-MACC held their second annual “Gangsta Gala” to commemorate individuals they feel are doing great work in the community. G-MACC is a organization dedicated to fighting gun violence in urban neighborhoods. They use mediation techniques and violence interrupters to temper situations that could become violent. Coincidentally, the gala was held in the honor of the founder’s brother who tragically lost his life to gun violence.

The second annual gala for the not for profit organization, Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (G-MACC) recently took place at the Sand Castle in Long Island, NY. The event was titled “2nd Annual Gangsta Gala, A Heroes Honor #RIPEdgarMcPhatter”. It also marks the first year of the death of the Ronald E. McPhatter, also known as “Banga” who was tragically killed last year at Irving Plaza. Banga is the younger brother of the founder of G-MACC Shanduke McPhatter. Since Ronald’s death, the family has been dealing with a lot and with another brother fighting charges in court, it has been a trying year for them. On the death of his brother he said “some days are better than others, but the situation hasn’t been resolved.” Even with all that has happened, Shanduke continued to push through with the gala. On the night’s events he said, “We honor our brothers and are showing what heroes are and what elevation looks like for our community.”

Jamie Albert, another sister of Ronald’s talked about the impact his loss had on his brother Shanduke.

“When he started this he had both of his brothers at his side and now he is all alone” says Jamie.

Sand Castle is designed to look like an actual castle. It features waterfalls and running water near the entrance of the establishment. Upon entering the venue, there are dining hall on the first floor and going up the stairs there is a second dining hall that leads into a garden. The garden is nestled within the castle walls and is a place where guests can congregate while taking in the view. This was the location where G-MACC’s gala took place. As many may know galas are the main drivers of funds for not for profit organizations and for a small organization like G-MACC, it is very important. The outcome of the gala could have beneficial or detrimental effect on their ability conduct their activities. As the night kicked off, supporters, friends, family, and donors started filing into the establishment to attend the night’s festivities. Guests like Lance Feurtado from the Kings of Kings Foundation, Gwenn Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, Valerie Bell, the mother of Sean Bell, were in attendance for the gala. All the guests were encouraged to bid on items mostly memorabilia from sports figures and famous persons. Shanduke greeted people, working the room before the activities were set to begin.

The main event for the night would be the people who were to be honored that night. These are people the organization felt did great work for the community. The honorees were the Reverend Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Eric L. Cumberbatch, Reverend Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, Pharoah Ferguson, Marcus Mcallister, and Cobe Williams. After the cocktail hour, people headed down to the main room where the honorees were to receive their award. Shanduke and his sons sat at head table in the room. Shonetta McPhatter, one of Ronald’s sisters shared some words about her brother. Tamika Mallory, an activist who works on issues like gun violence and Mysonne, a well-known rapper from the Bronx, NY emceed the event handing out the awards, spoke out the organization’s importance, and shared some stories about Shanduke. Mysonne and Shanduke are good friends and some may remember him speaking out on Troy Ave after Ave’s now infamous Power 105.1 Breakfast Club interview where he talked about a range of issues including the Irving Plaza event.

“It’s the shooter turned negotiator” said Mysonne talking about G-MACC and Shanduke. “We come from the same place, he takes people who were once the problem and now we are helping to become the solution.” “Violence is a disease and the ones afflicted with the disease can talk to others about it to help solve it.” Rose McPhatter, the mother of Shanduke talked about her being able to support her son at this gala.

“I give my honor to God for allowing me to partake in these activities and see the work my son is doing, I’m proud of him.” He is a great leader, activist and stands for peace, he is displaying all the abilities I saw in him as a child, and I feel very blessed to have him as a son. Ms. McPhatter also touched on the loss of her other son Ronald and his memory at this event. “He fought gun violence as well and was very proud of it” says Mrs. McPhatter. “He would say mom I got to hit the streets and would say I need to go to.” “Sometimes he and his brothers were out there all night trying to get young people off the street.” “Through all that he was doing, I never imagined my son would be killed by gun violence.” “I sat at a table tonight with mothers who also lost their sons to gun violence.” “I remember calling Valerie Bell and talking to her about losing Sean not knowing one day I would have to deal with that.”

As the honorees collected their awards and made their acceptance speeches, they also shared some words about Shanduke and the G-MACC organization. New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams made an appearance and also spoke a few words about the work G-MACC does. As the night continued to move, Ronald’s memory was not forgotten as a moment of silence was held for him. Ironically while everyone else was receiving awards for their work in the community, Shanduke was also presented with an award by the Brooklyn Borough President’s office on his work in the community.

As the night winded down and guests started filing out, Rose spoke about the importance of G-MACC and that still needs to be done in the community.

“Being here tonight encouraged me and let me know what needs to be done” says Rose.“Everyone has a part here, I met people who operate organizations that work with individuals affected by gun violence.” “Overall, I think G-MACC is doing great work. I encourage young sisters and brothers to reach out to organizations like it. I truly believe that G-MACC can pull that greatness out of them.”