In January of last year, a Paterson STEAM High School honor student who had earned a full scholarship to Montclair State University was killed in a crossfire while bringing groceries to his grandmother. Robert Cuadra was remembered during STEAM High School’s Wear Orange Gun Violence Awareness Walk, which was held on school grounds. Last year’s event raised over $7,000. All proceeds were given as scholarships to graduating seniors and a donation was made to Everytown for Gun Safety. Recent fundraising for the The Robert Cuadra Fund includes the selling of t-shirts and local food trucks that have agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to The Robert Cuadra Fund.
Present at the event was Paterson City Mayor Andre Sayegh, who spoke of the continuing effort to end gun violence in the city.
He was followed by Robert Cuadra’s mother, Ivernis Santiago, who lauded the students’ for their efforts to support ending gun violence and spoke about her son, “he was my role model,” she said.
Superintendent Shafer, who wasn’t able to attend, stated, “Each time we lose someone to gun violence it is a hard hit to the community and the city. Especially if it is a young person, like Robert was, whose life was really just beginning, it just strikes deeper. We are losing so much potential to gun violence and we all have to find a way to help end it. My team, those being the District’s administrators and school principals, and I, with the help of teachers, staff and parents, work together to make Paterson Public School buildings as safe as possible. It’s not enough to make our schools safe though, we need to work as a community to make the streets safe as well.”