Staten Island, NY – Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Member Debi Rose today announced an aggressive plan to combat the recent wave of hate crimes plaguing Staten Island. The plan, carefully crafted with input from the community as well as elected and law enforcement officials, seeks to raise awareness, and foster a dialogue in Staten Island aimed at ceasing bias-related crime. They were joined by National Action Network National Executive Director Tamika Mallory and Staten Island business, religious, civic and community leaders.
The plan forges critical partnerships with Staten Island leaders, local business leaders, neighborhood associations and citizens groups and includes the following measures:
I AM STATEN ISLAND PSA CAMPAIGN:
Ferry campaign – The New York City Department of Transportation will launch an educational PSA campaign on Staten Island ferries as well as in and around ferry terminals
COMMUNITIES OF FAITH:
Interfaith Weekend Against Hate – On the weekend of September 18th, religious leaders across Staten Island will dedicate their services to a unified message against hate.
Religious Roundtable – Religious roundtables will continue the important work done on the weekend of the 18th. They will continue to explore ways they can build bridges between communities in Staten Island.
Respect for All – With $300,000 from the New York City Council, the Department of Education will expand the Respect For All program to include a high school level anti-bias curriculum and training. Throughout the 2010-11 school year, the Department will offer this resource and professional development to high school teachers and school leaders throughout the City, and will start its efforts in Staten Island this fall.
Staten Island Schools – Working with Respect For All collaborative partners, the Department of Education will also provide additional support to Staten Island high schools to engage students in actively promoting respect for diversity in their schools and communities. A cadre of student leaders in each of the high schools will receive intensive training to prepare them to be diversity peer trainers.
LOCAL BUSINESS CORRIDOR:
Public-Private Partnerships – The New York City Council will spearhead an effort to raise public-private funds that will go towards providing security cameras for increased monitoring in the Port Richmond Business Corridor.
Improved Lighting and Safety – The Department of Transportation will explore lighting conditions in the area and whether or not improvements and increased lighting are needed.
Safe Zones – Businesses will take part in a new neighborhood safety program. As participants in the program, they will identify their businesses as “safe zones” where anyone who feels threatened in any way can seek refuge and will be assisted in finding help from the appropriate authorities.
COMMUNITY SERVICES AND PROGRAMS:
Social service groups – Organizations will receive specific training in how they can combat bias and assist attack victims.
CUNY – The College of Staten Island, which has notable experience at diversity training, will provide diversity and tolerance training for the local community.
Parks Programs – The Parks Department will conduct an assessment of safety at all parks in the Port Richmond area and throughout Staten Island and will increase safety where it is needed. They will also explore with the City Council whether other measures, such as improved lighting, seasonal sports and recreation and Park Ranger programs, and other programs could be introduced to encourage community unity and public safety.
“This plan, by incorporating the influence and expertise of broad and diverse sectors, religious leaders and elected officials, provides the multi-pronged approach we need in order to galvanize the Staten Island community to action and eradicate this trend of senseless bias-related crime,” said Speaker Quinn.
“I applaud the community’s immediate response to the vicious bias crimes plaguing the North Shore community. In just three weeks, we have put in place a large based coalition – ‘I AM SI,’ consisting of elected officials, business leaders, law enforcement agencies, clergy and community based organizations, which have developed comprehensive workable solutions with a commitment to implementing these initiative,” said Council Member Rose.
“The decency of New Yorkers runs much deeper than the hate of the few who persist in these attacks,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick of Manhattan. “We will summon every ounce of energy and courage from the community and use every tool at our disposal to stand up to vicious acts of hatred in New York City. There is simply no place for that here.”
“The Parks Department will work with Speaker Quinn and Council Member Rose, along with the local community and non-profit organizations to assist in bringing the youth of the community together in parks and recreation facilities on the North Shore,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “For example, the track and field in Corporal Thompson Park has just undergone a $4.4 million restoration funded by the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg, and the City Parks Foundation will bring back its popular track & field developmental program. The Parks Department will also explore with the City Council whether other measures, such as improved lighting, seasonal sports and recreation and Park Ranger programs, and other programs could be introduced to encourage community unity and public safety.”
“Hate has no place in our City. Through our schools, we can educate our young people to celebrate diversity, not fear it. Through the generous support of the City Council, the NYC Department of Education will be expanding the Respect For All program to include a high school level anti-bias curriculum and training. Throughout the 2010-11 school year, we will offer this resource and professional development to high school teachers and school leaders throughout the City, and will start our efforts in Staten Island in the fall. Working with our Respect For All collaborative partners, we will also provide additional support to Staten Island high schools to engage students in actively promoting respect for diversity in their schools and communities. A cadre of student leaders in each of the high schools will receive intensive training to prepare them to be diversity peer trainers,” said Department of Education Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.
“We denounce all violence based on race, gender or nationality. I will work with National Action Network’s Executive Director Tamika Mallory to convene African-American and Mexican-American clergy to come together to renounce violence from their respective pulpits,” said Reverend Al Sharpton.
“The senseless violence in Staten Island against Mexican-Americans is despicable and calls for mobilization between various ethic groups to combat the problem. National Action Network has worked tirelessly on anti-violence campaigns across the country and, as Executive Director, I will work with the Staten Island community to organize young people and anti-violence events. The fact that these incidents in Staten Island involve teens means there’s still much work to be done,” said National Action Network Executive Director Tamika Mallory.
“All corners of Port Richmond are working together across race and culture and faiths, to forge a safe place for all of our residents to live in safety with their families and in harmony with their neighbors. The victims of these crimes are survivors —their strength empowers us; the vision of our youth inspire us— to do everything in our collective power to make Port Richmond a shining example of good citizenship to the rest of the city. In the midst of moving forward, we commit ourselves to tackle the looming issues of poverty, unemployment, the need for youth services and the care of our neighbors which can ultimately bring us lasting peace. We remember the Jones family, members of our Port Richmond community who will be laid to rest this evening. May God grant them peace and us strength to work on behalf of all those who are suffering in our midst,” said Rev. Terry Troia