Tuesday, January 24, 2012

S.O.S. Clergy Action Network Launches at MLK Breakfast

On the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. clergy liason, Reverend Kevin Jones, facilitated a dialogue with fifty pastors from Crown Heights about the clergy's role in decreasing violence in the neighborhood, to kick off S.O.S.C.A.N., the S.O.S. Clergy Action Network.

After S.O.S. violence interrupters described their work to the clergy, the floor was open to discussion. Clergy affirmed their commitment to open their doors to young people in the neighborhood, to provide mentorship and counseling, art programs, and sports and recreation.

The discussion which followed two S.O.S. worker’s stories regarding their street work was intense and the dialogue thoughtful. Faith Based Leaders and their representatives left with a better understanding of the violence and the alienation that youth experience in the neighborhood. They passionately voiced deepened commitment to making the community safer and healthier, and looking towards a brighter future for our youth.

Some of the suggestions that were spoken about were:

• One gang told a group of clergy that since afterschool programs, summer youth employment, and recreational centers were closed and scaled back they had nothing to do and nowhere to go so they congregated in a local family park and became a gang. They asked for places to go. We need to open up our churches with organized activities.
• Getting our congregations involved with the District Attorney’s YCP (Youth and Congregations in Partnership) program.
• Opening up congregants to foster parenting and adoption.
• Leadership training and development of faith-based institutions.
• One pastor has a summer basketball league but no building to house it. We need to find a space for his league.
• Youth workshops on Arts and Technology.
• Having parenting classes and educational workshops.
• Job readiness training for our youth.

The dialogue, while passionate and heartfelt, was only the beginning of the work the Clergy Action Network will do together. On Saturday, February 18th, we will be coming back to the table. We need you to meet us from 9-11 AM to put together some action steps. Save the date!

Please see the Clergy Action Network page above for more details.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Join Us For Two Shooting Responses Tomorrow, Friday 1/20 @ 6 PM and @ 6:45 PM

We are saddened to inform you that yesterday there were TWO shootings in our catchment area in Crown Heights. We respond to every shooting that occurs in the S.O.S. target area. We respond to ensure that these tragedies and insults to the community do not pass unremarked as though they are normal and acceptable, and to create a safe space on our streets, at the site of the shooting, where neighborhood residents can raise their voices in protest.
Please join us tomorrow to respond to these shootings:

Tomorrow, Friday, January 20, 2012
6:00PM at Albany Ave and Prospect Place


6:45PM at 1288 St Johns Pl between Troy & Schenectady

Each response will last only about twenty minutes so please be prompt. We will walk together from Albany Ave. and Prospect Ave., the site of the first shooting response, to St Johns Place between Troy and Schenectady, the site of the second.

Announcing the Second Annual Arts to End Violence Contest

Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Crown Heights is pleased to announce its second annual Arts to End Violence contest and art show.

The Crown Heights community has made a commitment to end gun violence.  Merchants hang signs in their windows counting up the amount of days it has been since our last shooting; clergy members organize events to discuss violence in their congregations, teenagers speak to other teenagers about alternatives to violence. We are inviting the artists of Crown Heights and beyond to participate in our efforts to transform the neighborhood to make it a safe place for all.

Last year, the Arts To End Violence show brought artists together to share their own messages of peace and feelings about violence.  Some of the participants were established in their field and others were new to the creative process. The results were a diverse group of powerful images and performances that invigorated the community efforts to reduce violence.

We are calling on artists of all ages to submit art for this year's project. Artists 19 and younger can submit in three categories (2-dimensional art, videos and t-shirt designs) to be eligible for cash prizes. Professional artists are invited to submit pieces to be part of the Art To End The Violence collection to be displayed in local galleries and nontraditional venues such parks, Laundromats and barber shops.

Guidelines for the youth contest are available here, and the call to professional and emerging artists is  here.


March 15th - Early Deadline (for feedback from the Selection Committee - optional)
April 5th - Final Deadline for Submissions
May 21st-25th - Festival and Gallery Openings
June 3rd-10th - Winners Announced during “Cease the Fire, Increase the Peace” Week

We encourage artists, gallery spaces, teachers, art programs and media to follow our tumblr through the Arts to End Violence tab above. Call us at 718-773-6886 and speak with Anthony or email him at mohena@crownheights.org to learn more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Check Out Some Great Ways to Give Back to Your Community over Martin Luther King Weekend

This Monday marks the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What better way to spend the weekend than continuing the Reverend's work of forging the Beloved Community by coming together as a community and by volunteering.

There are many ways to spend the day from volunteering at the Crow Hill Community Garden to taking your kids to the Brooklyn Children's Museum. See a list of events here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Deadline extended for the Men's Empowerment Coordinator Position

The deadline for the position of Men's Empowerment Coordinator at S.O.S. has been extended to January 13th, 2012.

The Center/S.O.S. Crown Heights seeks a Men’s Empowerment Coordinator to help create better access to traditional victim service agencies and develop on-site victim programming for young men of color who are experiencing community violence (“hidden victims”). The role of the Coordinator will be to deliver services to young men of color who have experienced violent trauma. By combining supportive services with awareness-raising among existing victim service providers about the needs of this population, the Coordinator will be able to improve the response to these unrecognized victims. The Coordinator will also assist the S.O.S. Crown Heights program in creating best practices and a national model for violence interrupter projects and victim service providers working with these “hidden victims.”

The Men’s Empowerment Coordinator will work on-site at the Crown Heights Mediation Center. Every effort will be made to hire a Coordinator who is familiar with the needs of the young men involved in the community. Professional or personal experience with the criminal justice system is preferred.

Email you cover letter and resume to: jobs@crownheights.org.Please enter “Men’s Empowerment Coordinator” in the subject line of your email.

See the complete job description and instructions to apply here.

Neighborhood Leadership Institute: First Workshop January 28th

The Citizen's Committee for New York has announced the dates for their 2012 Winter Neighborhood Leadership Institute, and for the first time this year they are partnering with the Brooklyn Community Foundation to offer a a series of workshops for volunteer-led groups and individuals interested in working on community improvement projects.

See the flyer here

Basics of Community Organizing
Saturday, January 28, 11am-3pm, East New York
Bring neighbors together to work on issues that matter to you!

Media Tools
Saturday, February 25, 11am-2pm, East New York
Increase public support for your group by framing your message and alerting local

Navigating City Government
Saturday, March 24, 11am-2pm, East New York
Learn how government functions, who is responsible for what, and how to have your
community issue addressed.

Grassroots Fundraising
Saturday, April 28, 11am-1:30pm, East New York
Support your group’s work with community fundraising efforts!
Workshops are for volunteer-led groups and individuals interested in working on

There will also be workshops in Manhattan. See the flyer and schedule here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Year After Tuscon Shooting New York Still Has Too Many Victims

Join New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, partner of S.O.S., and the National Action Network at a vigil commemorating the Tucson Shooting on January 8.

NYAGV, National Action Network, Brady Campaign, Street Corner Resources, and other community members on January 8 will stand as one and to remember ALL victims of gun violence. We will say, with one simple act, that we no longer tolerate the loss of innocent young lives to gunfire. Gun violence in New York, and in the country, is a problem we can solve together.

WHAT: Vigil and March on the first anniversary of the Tucson shooting.
WHY: To honor all victims of gun violence
WHEN: Sunday, January 8 1:30pm
WHERE: 163 West 125th Street (Corner of 125th St & 7th Ave). March from 125th Street to Lenox Avenue and then north to 135th Street. The Vigil will then be held outside the Schomburg Center at the corner of 135th Street and Lenox Ave.

See the invitation here and CLICK HERE TO RSVP