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.