Monday, November 26, 2012

Resources for Families of Gun Violence Victims

Sadly, people from all over New York City have lost family members to gun violence. When a life is lost, families want to ensure that their loved one’s name is not forgotten. Many of them stop by our office to find out how they can honor the lives lost; some do so by connecting to others in similar situations and some even start their own foundations. In the fall of 2012 the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center decided to create a record of all of the resources that support families’ grieving and rebuilding process.

The list is organized into several sections to categorize organizations, and includes:
  •         Organizations supporting family members of homicide victims
  •         Organizations founded by family members of homicide victims
  •         Support for Starting a Non-Profit
  •         Resources and support in the grieving process
Click here to view the list online.

This list is a work in progress, so please contact Ariana Siegel at or call 718-773-6886 if you know of additional organizations that should be included.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

S.O.S. Volunteer Meeting RESCHEDULED

Due to the storm conditions, we have decided to reschedule tonight's S.O.S. Volunteer meeting for next Wednesday, November 14th, from 6-7:30 PM. We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope to meet everyone and share ideas next week.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Cure Violence" Success Noted by the NBA!

Cure Violence  in Chicago has been hard at work trying to reduce gun violence in their neighborhood. Recently, their success with a basketball tournament initiative was written up on a sports-news blog called Hang Time, and profiled in a video and article by! We've included the write-up of the event in Hang Time below; read it to learn about the kind of great work Cure Violence is dong around the country. S.O.S. Crown Heights is proud to be a replication of the Cure Violence program.

"CHICAGO – South Side, West Side, guns around the town…

OK, it’s nothing to sing about. Gun violence is real. The gang activity behind it has triggered an epidemic of shootings and homicides in Chicago in 2012. With two months to spare, more people had been killed in Chicago this year than in all of 2011 (435).

But a glimmer of good news: The murder rate slowed in October. In fact, the Associated Press reported, there were fewer murders last month than in all but one October since 1982.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel praised police and an emphasis on gang-busting. Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois, thinks basketball might have had a little to do with it, too.

Hardiman was one of the city activists involved with the Peace Tournament Sept. 22 at St. Sabina Church in the Auburn-Gresham community on Chicago’s South Side. Co-hosted by NBA legendIsiah Thomas and Father Michael Pfleger, the day-long event brought together rival gang members from the city’s meanest streets for dialogue and hoops.

The gym was packed, with an unbilled appearance by Bulls star Derrick Rose. Players and coaches took part in discussions about violence and grievances before and after the games, mingling with NBA players such as Quentin Richardson, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Then they were sent back to their neighborhoods, urged to share a message of peace.

As Thomas said that day: “By getting them to come together and play a sport, they might come to know each other. We believe it’s hard to kill someone if you get to know him.”

Follow-through always was going to be part of the program, and Hardiman believes the Peace Tournament has produced results. “Seven of those fellows got jobs as a result of that day,” Hardiman said Thursday, citing the community and business leaders who supported the event. “Shootings have been reduced, too.”

Even if that’s just an elusive coincidence, it’s one worth pursuing. Thomas will be back for a second event, this time on the West Side close to where the former Detroit Piston and Naismith Hall of Famer grew up. The Basketball Tournament for Peace will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, at Christ the King Jesuit School at 5088 W. Jackson."

You can view the original article here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

S.O.S. Wishes you a Happy Halloween!

Amidst the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to our friends and families across the New York and New Jersey areas, we at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center wanted to spread some Halloween love to our young Crown Heights trick-or-treaters. We had two 'pop up' community candy tablings sponsored by S.O.S and YO S.O.S. 

The outreach workers, youth organizers, and mediation center staff hit the streets with candy, facepaint, and S.O.S. material to talk to people about gun violence. We were able to give out over 200 bags of candy and SOS “Don't Shoot I Want to Grow Up” palm cards to children and their guardians. It was a much needed event in the wake of the hurricane.

We understand the importance of humility in sharing our smiles from yesterday's Halloween community tabling, as well as the equal importance of bringing good news amid all of the tragedy the Sandy brought and left.

We hope everyone in our community and those surrounding us can stay safe and find ways to smile as we work towards stability in the days ahead.