Black community leaders in Staten Island came together Saturday for the 11th annual Staten Island Black History Town Hall Meeting in Stapleton. Leaders from various groups discussed how they could come together to provide much-needed services to the borough’s Black residents.

The day began with a leadership breakfast at the Central Family Life Center. Leaders from areas such as business, youth, medical and social services got a chance to network with elected officials to address community concerns. The Rev. Dr. Demetrius Carolina of the First Central Baptist Church moderated the discussion. The theme for the day, he said, was “community Collaboration.”

“We had about 15 panelists from different groups across the island,” he said. “Many of the social ills that all communities grapple with are exacerbated on Staten Island because funding tends not to be a reality here. Staten Island is plagued with many of the very same issues the rest of the city deals with.”

The NYPD and the Legal Aid Society were also on hand to discuss concerns when it comes to law enforcement. Tensions flared on the island in 2014 when Eric Garner was killed by an officer using an apparent chokehold. A grand jury failed to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo.

“Even though stop-and-frisk has been done away with, there still needs to be a collaborative effort to bring the NYPD into the community,” Carolina said. “We don’t have SNUG on Staten Island, and we want to bring it here.”

At the end of the meeting, leaders agreed to have a summit with all nonprofits and for-profits that have the same goal in mind and also building a community calendar where everyone’s events can be seen so everyone can support.

Following the breakfast, attendees made their way to First Central Baptist Church to attend a program that included a performance by the Wagner College Choir. Staten Island Supreme Court Judge Desmond Green was the keynote speaker. Several people were honored, including the Revs. Dr. Kathryn Barrett Layne and Daniel Delgato, Everton Douglas, Benjamin Gilbert, Eric Garvin and Sylvia Delessandro.