Jumaane D. Williams partners with clergy, community leaders and law enforcement to curb violence in Brooklyn
CRAIG D. FRAZIER Special to the AmNews | 7/14/2011, 11:05 a.m.
Last week, New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams joined community leaders, family and friends at a candlelight vigil for Nicholas Telemaque, cousin of rapper Nicki Minaj, at the spot where he was brutally shot. The vigil commemorated the recent shootings of four individuals in the 45th Council District.
"Violence is never the answer and it has no place in our community. It is so important for us to rise as a community and make that abundantly clear," Williams said.
Williams has mobilized the community to address the increased violence in the district. He supports a number of community projects to help stem the violence and to provide opportunities in the community, the first of which was the Youth Anti-Violence Initiative, begun by his office and implemented by East Flatbush Village Inc.
"We are doing our part in helping with this issue. We hope other organizations and the community as a whole can join us in this movement to stop the violence in our neighborhood," said Monique Waterman, Executive Director of East Flatbush Village.
William's efforts also include collaborations with clergy and law enforcement. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly recently approved overtime for the 67th Precinct Gun Suppression Taskforce to determine if there is gun dealing in the precinct. The task force will begin operating a gun buyback program.
"Once again we are speaking out about the madness of this gun violence that's consuming our communities," said Mike Tucker, president of the Lay the Guns Down Campaign.
The 67th Precinct Clergy Council assists victims of violent crimes and their families with counseling and referrals. "As a people of faith, we must answer the clarion call to assist the community to actively focus on the violence in Central Brooklyn," said Pastor Gil Monrose, president of the council.
Williams also spoke out against the recent budget cuts, connecting a lack of community resources to the overall wave of gun violence.
"The destructive cuts that were made to youth programs have real consequences and this is a sad reminder [of that fact]," said Council Member Williams. "We need to be engaging and empowering our young people, not abandoning them in this time of need. If we cannot find ways to provide them support, this will truly be a long hot summer."