Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the ten community-based organizations selected to receive $20,000 each from the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for initiatives to prevent youth gun violence. The Office’s funding will allow community-based organizations to pay young New Yorkers stipends to participate in three months of meaningful programming, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, restorative justice, civic engagement, community enhancement projects, job trainings, education, and more.
Funding was awarded to community-based organizations that employ people with lived experience and provide hyperlocal programming in neighborhoods most affected by gun violence: Brotherhood Sister Sol (Harlem, Washington Heights); The Children’s Village (Harlem, Inwood); Emergent Works (Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, Upper West Side, Lower East Side); Exodus Transitional Community (East Harlem); Grand Street Settlement (Lower East Side, Chinatown, and the East Village); Henry Street Settlement (Lower East Side, Chinatown, and the East Village); New Future Foundation (Harlem, North Manhattan); Not Another Child (East Harlem); Police Athletic League (Central Harlem); and Street Corner Resources (Central Harlem).
“Combatting gun violence in Manhattan is my top priority, and prevention efforts that engage young New Yorkers are a crucial component of public safety,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Each of these organizations has demonstrated its ability to connect with young people in the communities where they live and spend their time, with staff who earn their trust as fellow New Yorkers with lived experience with gun violence. By integrating young people into positive, stabilizing, and supportive social networks in their communities, we help keep them safe in the long term. I am thankful to all of our partners, and particularly, to the young New Yorkers who will join us this year.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s Office is providing these awards through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which was created using millions seized in the Office’s investigations against major banks.
“D.A. Bragg’s commitment of $200,000 towards preventing youth gun violence is a crucial stride in tackling Manhattan’s gun epidemic. It not only highlights his dedication to a safer borough, but also underscores a multi-front strategy that goes beyond enforcement. By equipping our youth with positive and constructive tools, we’re creating a future where all young New Yorkers can thrive away from the shadow of gun violence,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
The Award Recipients
Brotherhood Sister Sol (Harlem, Washington Heights):
BroSis proposed an Environmental Health Program for 23 young New Yorkers focusing on horticulture sciences, food empowerment, sustainable design, and community organization.
Khary Lazarre-White, Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Brotherhood Sister Sol, said, “At The Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis) we believe that gun violence prevention is about deep engagement with young people, helping them to develop a sense of self, to build a connection to community and learn to process emotions without resorting to violence. Our youth development model is a multilayered and interwoven approach that helps young people define and hone a moral and ethical code – and then live up to these definitions. The vast majority of young people do not want to engage in violence and want other pathways. BroSis provides such pathways. We appreciate the support of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office of our work and model.”
The Children’s Village (Harlem, Inwood):
The Children’s Village will use the funding to run Operation Street Peace for 16 young New Yorkers who will complete either an art and social justice or a photography and community awareness curriculum.
Deborah Giordano, Vice President, The Children’s Village Inwood House Division, said “We are thrilled to join the Manhattan District Attorney in this critical effort for the second year running! Building on the important work we did together last year through Operation Street Peace, this year participants can choose from two curriculum pathways—last year’s popular Art and Social Justice or—new for 2023, Photography and Community Awareness. Both provide creative spaces to explore and think creatively about gun violence prevention. Building safer communities is a top priority, and we can foster this by engaging youth in meaningful and compelling conversations, learning, and activities that keep them in school, off the streets, and connected to those who love them – especially family!”
Emergent Works (Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, Upper West Side, Lower East Side):
Emergent Works will operate its second Bars Over Bullets summer program, where mentors teach 8 young New Yorkers therapeutic writing and performance skills in a safe space, including creating, performing, and recording songs.
“Emergent Works Inc. (EW) is bridging the gap between tech-forward careers and historically underserved communities impacted by mass incarceration by offering free access to technology, skills-based training, employment opportunities, and the resources needed to attain tech-forward careers. We are honored to partner with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for a second year on their mission-aligned Gun Violence Prevention Initiative. Through our digital music creation programming, we look forward to taking a trauma-informed approach to therapeutic writing, technical skill development, and employment opportunities while raising awareness around gun violence and community safety,” said Army Armstead, Executive Director of Emergent Works.
Exodus Transitional Community (East Harlem):
Exodus Transitional Community will use credible messengers to engage young 10 New Yorkers in individual and group sessions – including cognitive behavioral therapy – over the course of 12 weeks.
“Exodus Transitional Community (Exodus), a preventative, reentry and advocacy organization located in East Harlem, is excited to partner with DANY to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods. Exodus is at the forefront of this work; our PEACE Brokers work into the night and connect individuals to our vast array of wrap-around supportive services. We help people by empowering them to see their value as we do. And teach our people how to utilize collective leadership to make systemic changes. We are at a turning point in our history where we have the opportunity to invest in community-based organizations using restorative justice to heal our communities. With only 4 years left before Rikers Island closes for good, we look forward to continue our work with DANY and are hopeful additional resources will become available to reach our common goal. It will take our entire City working together to reach systemic transformation,” said Kandra Clark, VP of Policy & Strategy.
Grand Street Settlement (Lower East Side, Chinatown, and the East Village):
Grand Street Settlement will develop a youth-lead anti-violence campaign to build 8 young people’s skills as community organizers through attending a weekly leadership skills workshop – where they will plan events for their communities – as well as an hour-long STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) class.
“Grand St. Settlement understands the need to keep our youth active in their community to fight the gun violence epidemic. We’re excited to continue our partnership with the District Attorney’s office to provide engaging programs that keep our neighbors and young people safe,” said Thanh Bui, Managing Director of Youth and Community Development
Henry Street Settlement (Lower East Side, Chinatown, and the East Village):
Henry Street Settlement will employ 4 young New Yorkers as “Community Champions,” a community-focused leadership role, and lead an anti-violence campaign. Champions will learn computer literacy skills, attend neighborhood tours for community engagement, attend workshops to become experts and change agents in their communities.
David Garza, President & CEO of Henry Street Settlement, said, “Henry Street Settlement is honored to have been selected for a second time to receive a Gun Violence Prevention Initiative award from the Manhattan D.A.’s office. By enabling our agency to hire young-adult community champions from the Lower East Side, this grant will deepen the foundation of youth development and peer leadership that Henry Street has worked strenuously to establish in our community. As a 130-year-old organization, we understand that the way to make neighborhoods and young people safe is to provide meaningful and responsive human services and opportunities that meet the full spectrum of emotional, educational, workforce, and creative needs for our youth. Thank you to the D.A.’s office for enabling us to sustain these programs and to keep our young people safe, enabling them to reach their full potential.”
New Future Foundation (Harlem, North Manhattan):
New Future Foundation will engage 7 young New Yorkers in its Graffiti Against Gun Violence program, where they will tend to an ornamental garden, create art, and learn financial literacy through twice-weekly workshops.
“New Future Foundation, Inc. thanks DA Bragg and his office for this grant award. We are excited to work with District Attorneys office in combating gun violence in Harlem. Our partnership with PR City, Company, and the FDB Community Garden will ensure a robust project that will address gun violence from an artistic approach. As the Queen Mother of Hip Hop, it is fitting this project takes place during the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop. We look forward to Graffiti Against Gun Violence creating resolutions directly from the youth themselves,” said Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, President and CEO of New Future Foundation.
Not Another Child (East Harlem):
Not Another Child will offer a series of workshops to 10 young New Yorkers, including Healthy East Harlem and A Survivor’s Experience, where mothers share their experiences of loved ones taken from them by gun violence. Youth will complete a capstone project by creating a mural in a community space memorializing individuals lost to gun violence.
Police Athletic League (Central Harlem):
The Police Athletic League will bring together 10 young adults for weekly workshops where they will learn to become agents of change and develop skills to mediate conflict and disrupt negative community norms. They will also create a community garden where there has been high activity of gun violence and collaborate on a podcast of their experiences.
“As a collective we must continue to “get better at being better” for our young people and the communities we serve. The resources provided by DANY empowers us as organizations to continue this battle that we cannot afford to loses against gun violence. The Police Athletic League will continue to make this work a priority,” said Police Athletic League, Inc. CEO Carlos Velazquez.
Street Corner Resources (Central Harlem):
Using a Cure Violence Model, Street Corner Resources will place 10 young New Yorkers at a work assignment for a community-based organization. Youth will also engage in self-development enrichment activities and peer group sessions that center around anti-violence, empowerment, decision making, and community-focused workshops.
“I am forever grateful to District Attorney Alvin Bragg for awarding this funding to help decrease violence in our community. In the past we used grant funding for beautification and community engagement, and this year in additional we will also ask young people to help have conversations about public safety with community partners, elected officials, and young people,” said Iesha Sekou, Founder and CEO of Street Corner Resources.