THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

OFFICE OF COUNCIL MEMBER 

JUMAANE D. WILLIAMS
 

CONTACT: William Gerlich, 917-608-8784

wgerlich@council.nyc.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

4:00 P.M. EST, January 16, 2015

WILLIAMS STANDS WITH PARENTS OF RECENT 15-YEAR-OLD GUN VIOLENCE VICTIM & COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS DURING ANTI-GUN VIOLENCE RALLY

Council Member Williams stands with gun violence victim family members, anti-gun violence advocates, local clergy and community members to condemn recent shootings in District 45. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Ernest Skinner, NYC COUNCIL
BROOKLYN, NY: Today, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and co-chair of the Council's Taskforce to Combat Gun Violence, stood with the parents of 15-year-old gun violence victim Isiah Joseph, who was fatally shot on Sunday near East 56th Street and Avenue H, to demand an end to gun violence in the District. In response to Isiah's tragic death, Council Member Williams announced the upcoming launch of the Gun Violence Crisis Management System in the 67th precinct, an effort funded in part by Mayor Bill de Blasio which expands on the Council's Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, incorporating programs that respond to meet the needs of every spectrum in the community that is impacted by gun violence.

Additionally, the announcement occurred on the heels of a shooting that took place in front of St. Therese Lisieux Catholic Academy, just as school was about to begin. That same day, a nearby shooting left another young man dead in an apartment complex. During the early morning press conference, Nadine Joseph, mother of 15-year-old gun violence victim Isiah Joseph, stood with Council Member Williams, faculty of St. Therese, members of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, anti-gun violence advocates, community leaders, clergy, students and parents to condemn these incidents and to announce the upcoming Cure Violence expansion.


"On Monday while writing a painful statement regarding Isiah Joseph's fatal shooting, I was notified of an additional shooting had occurred in our district. This insanity must end," said Council Member Williams "Our community cannot treat these tragic incidents as the norm. I am proud to stand with community leaders and the Joseph family today to not only condemn these horrific acts, but to announce that a concerted plan is in place to deal with shootings in our community by using a multi-pronged approach involving city agencies, community members and violence-interrupter groups. Though District 45 has experienced gun violence in ebbs and flows, today's announcement is a historic shift and important step toward making a serious impact in this community."

"My husband and I are here today to make sure what happened to our son does not happen to anyone else," said Nadine Joseph, mother of 15-year-old gun violence victim Isiah Joseph who died last Sunday. "Our son was taken too soon, and right now we all have to come together. From Congress Members to Senators to City Council Members and community leaders, our community needs every elected official to address this urgent issue. I am glad to hear the city is expanding anti-gun violence services during a time we need it most."

The cure violence model, an evidence-based public health approach, identifies and engages individuals most likely to be involved in gun violence and deploys interventions aimed at curbing that behavior before it occurs, including retaliatory shootings. The project employs "violence interrupters," typically former gang members who have turned their lives around, to quell street disputes-intervening before escalation to gun violence-and links potential shooters to case management and supportive services. The Task Force published a report in 2012 with initial recommendations on how to reduce gun violence within the city. This expansion draws on almost all of the recommendations originally made, including treating gun violence as a public health issue, funding grassroots groups, incorporating wrap around services, creating an organized system, and coordinating with multiple city agencies for a multi-pronged approach.

This $15 million  initiative, funded jointly by the de Blasio administration and the City Council, expands the cure violence system and will bring together six City agencies to support:

  • Creation of an organization to oversee the City's efforts, chaired by the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, that will include City agencies and providers to ensure coordination of programming and services; and continued support of research to ensure program effectiveness and accountability.
  • Expansion and addition of "wrap around," community-based preventive services, such as job training, mental health and legal services, which will increase the likelihood of long-term violence reduction.
  • Establishment of school-based conflict mediation and anti-violence programs, including the Match program, which provides daily tutoring in Algebra to high school students, and which random-control trials have demonstrated reduction in violence by 44 percent-while improving academic performance by three grades.
  • Establishment of an anti-violence program training academy to train neighborhood-based anti-gun violence providers to ensure consistency and fidelity to the effective models of community based anti-violence work.
  • Development of community messaging and educational materials to reinforce community norms against gun violence, similar to successful campaigns promoting seat belt use and against smoking.
The following community-based organizations make up the Cure Violence System in East Flatbush:
"GMACC has been and will continue to work hard to ensure our youth have a safe place to learn and grow," said Shanduke McPhatter, Executive Director of the violence-interrupter group. "The shootings that happened in recent days are tragic and cannot be ignored. The cure violence system is a huge benefit to our community, because not only are we the first responders to shootings, but offer services that will prevent them from happening to begin with. I look forward to working with the other Cure Violence System organizations, include East Flatbush Village, Sesame Fliers, OBT, the Legal Aid Society and all community members to make East Flatbush safer than it has even been before."

"We must speak out after each and every shooting, which is why I am proud to stand with Council Member Williams, the Joseph family and our community advocates to condemn these tragic events," said Monique Waterman, Founder and Program Director of East Flatbush Village, Inc., another violence-interrupter group in the area. "Our organization looks forward to expanding our work by developing youth programs in our community, including EFV ENOUGH, which provides a holistic approach to mentoring and counseling at-risk youth in our community's schools. Additionally, EFV provides after school programs and extra-curricular activities for our children. Through these efforts, it is my hope that our youth continue to learn and grow without fear of danger."

"The Legal Aid Society of New York City applauds the Mayor's Office and the City Council for expanding the Cure Violence Model and Crisis Management System to additional neighborhoods such as East Flatbush," said Heidi Cain, Staff Attorney for the Anti-Gun Violence Unit at The Legal Aid Society. "By delivering essential services to communities in need the Cure Violence model addresses gun violence at its root cause.  Our deepest condolences go out to the families that have been affected by gun violence in this neighborhood.  As New York City's largest and oldest provider of free legal services in over 300,000 matters annually for low-income New Yorkers in all five boroughs, staff in our Criminal, Juvenile Rights and Civil Practices witness first-hand the devastating effects of violence, poverty and the lack of resources for communities and families. We look forward to continuing to work together with members of the City Council, the Mayor's Office and organizations like GMACC to make a difference."


The cure violence expansion is also being implemented in the following precincts:

  • East Harlem, South Manhattan (23rd Precinct);
  • North Harlem, Manhattan (32nd Precinct);
  • South Bronx (40th Precinct);
  • East Concourse-Concourse Village, Bronx (44th Precinct);
  • University Heights-Morris Heights, Bronx (46th Precinct);
  • Eastchester-Edenwald-Baychester, Bronx (47th Precinct);
  • Seagate-Coney Island, Brooklyn (60th Precinct);
  • Brownsville, Brooklyn (73rd Precinct);
  • East New York-Pennsylvania Ave, Brooklyn (75th Precinct);
  • Far Rockaway, Queens (101st Precinct);
  • South Jamaica, Queens (113th Precinct);
  • Queensbridge-Ravenswood-LIC, Queens (114th Precinct);
  • and North Shore, Staten Island (120th Precinct)

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