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State Sen. Perkins, Harlem's marathon man

11/3/2011, 3:58 p.m.
State Sen. Perkins, Harlem's marathon man

Whether it's 5 a.m. up in Albany or in the city, a long, lean Black man is running, on his way to Central Park or taking a run to Coney Island. In Albany, he's running in his favorite park, preparing for his umpteenth New York City Marathon after breaking his personal best last year in the borough-wide, world-renowned race.

However, as he prepares for this year's marathon, New York State Sen. Bill Perkins, who also runs in community 5Ks and 10Ks, has other things on his mind, like the endless violence that is turning our communities into mini-war zones.

Guns are in the hands and pockets of thousands, and Perkins is raising public awareness in each of New York's five boroughs. As he prepares to run the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6, he has a powerful message to share: drop the guns, stop the violence.

"Join our race to save our children from violence and drugs," said Perkins. "To reach the finish line, we need the right equipment. Too many effective programs like Operation SNUG, an anti-violence initiative my colleagues and I started in 2009, are being defunded and cut. Maintaining a millionaire's tax on the 1 percent is crucial to making our city safer."

Supporters of Perkins' Drop the Guns: Stop the Violence initiative will chant, "Drop the guns, stop the violence," when Perkins and sponsors from Harlem United, Man Up Harlem and TCI College of Technology sprint through the boroughs.

Perkins is urging New Yorkers to contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo and their state legislators with the message to keep the millionaire's tax and not eliminate essential programs like SNUG. The senator wants people to insist that lawmakers and the governor do their part to support the call to drop the guns and stop the violence, "including," he says, "the terrible violence that happens when tax breaks for the rich are given a priority over programs that empower the majority!"

Perkins will run the New York City course with members of a number of community organizations who are supporting his campaign.