Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stay Safe This New Year's Eve!

Holiday Party and Toy Giveaway

On December 21st, S.O.S. hosted a holiday party and toy giveaway for the families of program participants. The evening featured games, food, songs, and plenty of laughter and dancing, with the children receiving toys for the holidays at the end of the night. We would like to give special thanks to Catfish Restaurant and Basil Pizza for donating food, and to Toys for Tots, the Park Slope Civic Council and Park Slope Parents, Trucked Out, and Pastor Ken Bogan for their generous donations of toys.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Join Us for Community Conversations in the New Year

Community Rally on Christmas Eve

On the afternoon of Tuesday, December 24th, a group of Crown Heights residents gathered at the corner of Prospect Place and Albany Avenue in response to a shooting that occurred there the previous morning, which left a man wounded.

Residents came together to spread the message that violence in our community is never acceptable, and to try to bring about a new message of peace.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shooting on Monday Morning

Around 2:40 am on Monday morning, December 23rd, there was a shooting in front of 1119 Prospect Place, between Albany and Kingston Aves. A 28-year old male was wounded and taken to Kings County Hospital where he was admitted.

S.O.S. Crown Heights is organizing a community rally tomorrow, December 24th, to express our collective opposition to this act of violence in our neighborhood during the season of peace. Even though - perhaps because - it is Christmas Eve, we hope you will join us for 30 minutes to stand against violence.

Friday, December 13, 2013

S.O.S. C.A.N. Remembrance Service: December 18th

Community Conversations, Session Three

Last night, Thursday, December 12th, 15 Crown Heights neighbors braved the freezing weather to gather at Launch Charter School on 1580 Dean Street for a third session of S.O.S. Community Conversations.

Participants looked at a variety of issues related to violence

 Participants looked at a number of sub-issues that affect and are affected by gun violence, which had been identified during previous conversations. They then selected violence-related issues to work on in small issue groups. The two groups decided to focus on housing and youth development and support. 

The housing group meets to discuss their issue
After choosing a facilitator and recorder, the issue groups worked together to choose an approach they would take to address their issue. Everyone returned to the conversation circle for a report back on what happened in the groups. Each group came away with ideas to address their issue and exchanged contact information to take next steps.

The youth development group reports back to the circle about their plans

At the close of the conversation, everyone was encouraged to send their reactions, opinions, criticisms, advice and suggestions about Community Conversations to us by email  at chcmcblog@gmail.com. Stay tuned for information about our next Community Conversation in the new year, and how to become involved in organizing for change.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rally in Response to Shooting on St. Johns Place

On the night of Friday, December 6th, two men were shot on St. Johns Place between Utica and Schenectady Avenues. The following day, Saturday, December 7th, S.O.S. held a rally at the spot of the shooting to call attention to the act of violence that occurred there.

11 S.O.S. volunteers and 5 staff members came together to spread the message to passersby and the community: the shootings must end. Prior to Friday's shooting, there had been 55 days without a shooting in the S.O.S. catchment area. Many people on the street stopped and talked to the S.O.S. team about the need to end the violence.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Community Conversations Continue December 12th

Please join us for our next Community Conversation on Thursday, December 12th. We will break into groups to begin to build strategies to reduce neighborhood gun violence.

S.O.S. November Events

Fall Fish Fry: On Friday, November 22nd, S.O.S. held its annual Fish Fry in the Fall. Over 40 community members came out to the corner of Albany Ave. and St. Marks Ave. to enjoy fish sandwiches and good company.

Attorneys from the Legal Aid Society joined the S.O.S. team to answer questions and provide legal information to residents.

Barbershop Discussion: On Wednesday, November 27th, S.O.S. held a discussion event at Unique Unisex studio, a local barbershop. The event centered around the question: "What would your ideal community look like?" 5 participants were in attendance, and shared their thoughts about what could make their community better. Some ideas that came up were a more jobs and a more diverse community where people from different cultures could communicate better.

S.O.S. C.A.N. Rollerskating: On Saturday, November 30th, the S.O.S. Clergy Action Network (C.A.N.) hosted an outing for 20 young people at a rollerskating rink in Brooklyn. The event was hosted in response the event Power Filled Me, where an audience of adults listened to the concerns of young people. One of the issues that came up during Power Filled Me was the lack of community spaces where young people could have fun. The rollerskating event was a chance to bring together young people, some of whom had never skated before, for an activity with the community. The event was so successful that S.O.S. C.A.N. will be hosting another outing in the near future.

Youth panelists at Power Filled Me

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Give to Stop Gun Violence and Save Lives!

"Before this program, I was a hothead, everything would get me upset and I had a really bad temper. Because where I come from, we always resort to violence first and since I’ve been here it really changed my life. I don’t get as mad as I used to; I just walk away from certain situations; I let stuff roll off my back. Honestly, it really changed my life. Without S.O.S., I really don’t know where I’d be right now, to be honest.”

Rezzeia Alexander, 16, Graduate of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.)

Dear Friend,

I am writing to ask you to donate to the Mediation Center to help us continue to make our neighborhood a safer place.

Your donation will go toward programs that prevent violence from spreading throughout our neighborhood and literally save lives.  We use an innovative approach that interrupts and prevents future violence, and has been evaluated and demonstrated to be effective. This year, an evaluation of our work by the Center for Court Innovation reflected what our participants have been reporting to us, our program really works to curb gun violence.  The research indicated that gun violence in Crown Heights was 20% lower than what it would have been without Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) One current participant recently shared, “S.O.S. isn’t just about saving the streets; it’s about saving ourselves.
  • Your donation will go toward teaching young leaders in the YO S.O.S. program, who have been surrounded by a climate of violence, how they can stand up against violence and help their friends make positive choices and avoid violent conflict.
  • Your donation will support our work with gunshot and stabbing victims at Kings County Hospital.  Our Hospital Responder, Kenneth Edwards, meets with victims in the midst of their crises and helps them consider how they can call off potential retaliations and be safe in the future. So far this year he has met with 50 people whose lives have been transformed due to violence and provided support and guidance.
  • Your donation will support our neighbor services, which assisted more than 800 people last year, helping them build resumes, find jobs, get health care screenings, and connect to other services and agencies throughout the city.
  • Your donation will support the mobilization efforts to involve the entire neighborhood in the movement to end gun violence. So far this includes 100 volunteers, 30 Houses of Worship that are active in the S.O.S. Clergy Action Network, eight barber shops that hold conversations about ending violence, 40 artists that contribute to our annual arts festival and 25 small business that count up the days between shootings and promote the public education materials designed to stop the shootings.
Our work has caught the attention of national press including CNN Radio, the New York TimesAl Jazeera America. Take two minutes to watch an award winning film that profiles an S.O.S. staff member and be inspired by how dedicated the S.O.S. team is to stopping gun violence and changing the culture.

We are dedicated to achieving lofty goals – saving the most vulnerable lives and changing cultural norms around violence. Our work is possible because of the support of people like you.  Join us in the movement to end violence.  Please make a contribution today!

Donations by check should be made out to the “Fund for the City of New York” and mailed to the Mediation Center at 256 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11213. Please put the Mediation Center in the subject line. Or, 
you can donate online here, and select Crown Heights Mediation Center in the drop down menu.

With appreciation and gratitude,

Amy Ellenbogen,
Project Director, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center

PS: Follow our progress on our 
blogsTwitterInstagram and Facebook, refer people to our programs, come volunteer, and join us at our events!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Film About S.O.S. Wins Ron Kovic Peace Award

Our Hospital Responder, Kenneth Edwards, was featured in a film by Moral Courage TV about his work with S.O.S. The film and its producer won the 2013 Ron Kovic Peace Prize at the My Hero International Film Festival. Congratulations to producer Adam Grannick and to Kenneth! Watch the video to learn more about the daily work of our S.O.S. staff. Read more about Kenneth and the role of a hospital responder here.