In a series on gun violence in New York by The Trace and The Guardian, the final article details the complex reasons that shootings have declined in Brooklyn, crediting Brooklyn’s more-developed infrastructure of Crisis Management System groups and its network of community-based organizations, like the Brownsville Community Justice Center. Hailey Nolasco, our director of community-based violence prevention; Mallory Thatch, program manager; and Deron Johnston, the deputy director for community development, share their perspectives on on the changes—both positive and negative—Brownville has seen regarding gun possession and violence.
In a series on gun violence in New York by The Trace and The Guardian, the second of three articles looks at how law enforcement’s ability to solve a crime, especially a shooting, can build or erode trust between law enforcement and the community affected. The article references multiple studies, including the Center's own report, Gotta Make Your Own Heaven, which documented that young people who carry firearms in communities with higher rates of violence often fear the police, which contributes to their decision to carry.
In a series on gun violence in New York by The Trace and The Guardian, the first article explores New York City's surge in gun crime and how it largely coincides with the pandemic. The article explores new and existing approaches to prioritize public safety, like NeighborhoodStat, that gives public housing residents tools and resources to set priorities around quality-of-life issues has shown to reduce violence across the city. Hailey Nolasco, our director of community-based violence prevention, says "let’s continue to bolster community-led efforts and not cause more harm to our communities."
Philadelphia is one of five major cities receiving national funding to study the factors driving youth gun violence. The research model involves hiring people with lived experience to ask questions in their own neighborhoods. Our Elise White and Basaime Spate, who are leading the study, share how having credible people ask the questions will improve turnout and the quality of responses. "The folks who live the experience also end up controlling the data at the end, so they control the narrative. And that’s an extremely important thing when you look at the way that gun violence gets talked about,” says Dr. White, research director.
WNYC Radio Rookies reporter Deborah Ugo-Omenukwa worked with the Center to explore restorative justice in youth courts. She spoke with our Brownsville Community Justice Center to learn more about restorative approaches to the legal system, and the difference between punishment and consequences.
The Center’s Youth Action Institute (formerly called the Youth Justice Board) alum and current WNYC Radio Rookies reporter, Rainier Harris, is an advocate for abolishing the NYPD’s gang database, which he researched as part of our 2020 report called ‘All Eyes on Us.’ As Rainer shares on this segment, the database is a list of more than 17,000 people that police have labeled as gang members, often without any known affiliations to a gang.
The Center’s Syracuse Peacemaking Center will continue operation for another two years, thanks to funding from the city’s Common Council. Program ambassadors are working with community partners and guest speakers to provide residents a safe place to talk and connect them with mental health services. Our Leah Russell tells WAER how the program has “seen firsthand how housing concerns are exacerbating mental health issues.”
John Jay College senior Shambaleed Nayyer is a winner of the 2021-2022 New York Giants Touchdown Fellowship, which supports year-long internships at leading criminal justice organizations. Through her fellowship, Shambaleed has been working with Center program Manhattan Justice Opportunities, researching felony alternatives to incarceration programs across the country, and exploring new ways to improve our programming.
Ifeoma Ebo, an urban designer and planner based in New York City, worked with the Center's Brownsville Community Justice Center and tenants of the Brownsville Houses to activate outdoor areas to build safe, shared spaces. In 2019, the Justice Center, young community members, and Ebo came together to create low-cost solutions and organized B-Lit, an event that transformed the park into a multicolored dance floor that welcomed residents of all ages.
In response to a gas outage, Staten Island community members came together to create their own solution to fight food insecurity. A group of volunteers went door-to-door delivering food and supplies. Leticia Lucero from the Center's Neighborhood Safety Initiatives says the community really came together to do this work, sharing how great it feels to highlight positive things happening in communities, especially among all that's going on in the world.
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