Welcome to the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force blog!
Monthly Archives: November 2011
The El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force released its official platform yesterday, following more than a year of community discussions and meetings with young people. The Task Force, organized by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, was founded after the Council Member and community groups noticed a growth in neighborhood violence among the youth. It is a diverse collaborative of youth and community organizations that aims to directly involve young people in the development of positive alternatives to gang and gun violence. The platform is available for download here.
The press conference unveiling the platform was held outside the Johnson Community Center, which has been in the works for over 10 years as an important resource for our community’s youth, but still has not been opened. Senator Jose Serrano, Council Member Jumaane Williams and local youth and community groups were all on hand to support the work of the Task Force. The platform calls for collective action on the part of government, law enforcement, non-profits, youth, parents, schools, and the community as a whole to address the recent rise in youth violence.
The recommendations, which derive from ideas that were shared during a series of community discussions and other gatherings of local youth, revolve around seven key areas:
- Outreach to High Risk Youth
- Improving Police/Community Relations
- Extracurricular Youth Programming
- Youth Employment
- Investments in Public Education
- Parental Involvement
- Youth Empowerment.
Some specific recommendations include: introducing the “Violence Interrupters” Model in El Barrio/East Harlem, which has helped to prevent shootings and retaliatory violence among youth in other communities, successfully re-opening the James Weldon Johnson Center, reinstating the New York Midnight Basketball program, and leveraging the Young Men’s Initiative funds for workforce development.
This platform is only the beginning. To learn more about the work ahead, please contact Elsie Encarnacion at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-828-9800.
Tomorrow, November 10th, at 3:30pm, Council Member Mark-Viverito, East Harlem community-based organizations, local youth, and other elected officials will release the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force’s official platform, which calls for collective action by government, non-profits and the community to reduce neighborhood violence. The platform’s recommendations build upon ideas shared by East Harlem youth at community discussions held over the past year. The press conference will be held outside of the James Weldon Johnson Community Center located at Lexington Avenue and 115th Street. This brand new community center, which has been in the works for over a decade, could be a vital resource to our youth, but is still shuttered.
The release of the Youth Violence platform follows a story published in this Sunday’s New York Daily News that revealed that Council Member Mark-Viverito’s car was hit by a stray bullet this past September. The alleged shooter was a 16 year old young man. Council Member Mark-Viverito will speak about the incident and how it reinforces the need for collective action on the part of the community and the city to prevent more young people from turning to gangs and gun violence. Youth and community leaders will also speak about the recommendations outlined in the platform and call for an end to senseless violence.
We welcome all community members, friends of East Harlem/El Barrio, and concerned citizen to join us. An official copy of the report will be made available here tomorrow afternoon.
Yesterday, the Daily News published an article, which revealed that Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito’s car was hit by a stray bullet during a shooting in September. The bullet was recently found lodged in her tail light. The article highlights the work of the Task Force and helps build anticipation for this Thursday’s release of our platform.
Although the incident I was unknowingly involved in, in retrospect, was truly scary, unnerving, and extremely unfortunate, it is in no way a reflection of our youth or who we are as a community. To me it is indicative of a greater challenge before us. That young man, out on the street at 10:30 pm, carrying a gun and aiming to shoot someone, was surely let down by many people along the way, and that saddens me. It is an “all hands on deck” moment for our community and our city. We all have a role to play, and that is the message of the Youth Violence Task Force. We can’t stand idly by while we are losing a generation of our youth.
This gallery contains 3 photos.
The El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force will release its official platform this Thursday. Stay tuned for more details!