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Police, Community and Clergy Gather for Healing

Members of Beacon of Peace participate in Interfaith Service

“What can we do in the face of senseless acts of violence…in times of unrest and natural disasters,” asked Father Francis Colamaria from Saint Helen’s Church.

This question was put in the form of a prayer at NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South’s Interfaith Prayer Service.  The service, held on Tuesday October 10 at the Sikh Cultural Society, brought together faith leaders, community and law enforcement to share prayers and invite community wide fellowship. 

“The relationship between NYPD and the community is growing stronger,” said Bhai Gurdev Kang of the Sikh Cultural Society.  His prayer was for stronger partnerships and future peace.  “Working together [we can] stand and face any challenge,” he said.

The interfaith service welcomed faith leaders from houses of worships representing various religions across South Queens to lead those present in prayer.  At a time when current events are filled with tragedies from natural disasters and domestic terrorism, it was a means of coming together.  Love and togetherness were the central themes of all the prayers that evening. 

Reverend Greta Gainer Anderson from Greater Allen A.M.E prayed for the strength of togetherness.  “Bind the people of the city of New York to each other and to law enforcement,” she prayed.

Pandit Vishal Maraj from the Hindu Learning Foundation prayed a blessing for police officers.  “May they be the guiding force behind governance,” he said.  Maraj also prayed “that no one suffer.  Peace. Peace. Peace.”

Reverend Ehjaz Nabie from the Faith Assembly Church prayed for “peace, love and unity”.

Rabbi Shlomo Nisanou from the Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim prayed that those gathered know “how fragile the world is…Nothing is forever.”  He prayed that those present “love yourself as you love your friend.  This included the community,” he prayed. 

Bishop Erskine Williams from New Seasons Family Worship Center who also serves as the President of the 103rd Precinct Community Council Board prayed for love and unity.  “[Let us have] love, peace and unity between police and community for the common good of both of us,” he prayed.

“With all the political, social and religious events happening in the US and the city, it is so wonderful that we all come together, sharing faith, and unified as a community,” said Assistant Chief David Barrere.  He invited attendees to fellowship after the service.

Commissioner Marco Carrion from Mayor DeBlasio’s Community Affairs Unit reiterated the Mayor’s commitment to “build police/community relationships”.

After the service, law enforcement, clergy and community gathered for fellowship in the Temple’s hall.  With plenty of food and laughter, individuals of various communities, religions and ages came together to meet and greet.  There were photo opportunities with NYPD leadership, selfies and conversation.

“We join together to keep our neighborhood safe,” said Carrion.

 

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Cops and Kids have Convo

Where do cops go to eat food?

Why do cops need bullet proof vests?

These were the questions fielded by Officers Rivera and Whilchez during their visit to the  Scholars Learning Academy & Afterschool located at 111-10 Merrick Boulevard.  They were invited to speak and participate by Director Craig Whitaker on Thursday, September 28, 2017.

The purpose was to have a conversation with  the children who were elementary school aged.  The young scholars got a chance to see that officers were no different than they were.

The question and answer session, which was only supposed to last for 15-20 minutes,  went well beyond 30 minutes.  The kids wanting to know more! Officers Rivera and Whilchez had to agree to return next month and possibly make this event a monthly happening.

Students gifted officers pottery gifts from the class and gladly took pictures. A great time was had by all.

Officers Rivera and Whilchez are part of the Neighborhood Coordinating Unit of the 113th Precinct.  They patrol NCO Sector ‘Charlie’.

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NYPD Neighborhood Coordinating Officer Training Continues

The NYPD continues to roll out its Neighborhood Policing Plan across New York City. Neighborhood Coordination Officers work closely with the community to identify concerns and establish relationships. Karen Clements, President 113th Precinct Community Council Board, has presented the important role council boards and the community play in this partnership to new classes of officers at the police academy for the past year. On August 28, selected officers were convened. Through lively discussion and videos they learn how they could implement community in their new role.§ Photo Karen Clements with Officer Class

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Young Democrats Protest Incident in Charlottesville

On Tuesday, August 15 the Queens County Young Democrats’ (QCYD) Caucus of Color hosted a rally against hate and bigotry.   The rally was in response to the recent events in Charlottesville VA at which one person was killed.  The Charlottesville rally was organized by White Nationalist. 

The rally was the brainchild of one of QCYD’s newest members, Kemar Newman.  A member of QCYD for just two months, the young immigrant and veteran was affected by the events in Charlottesville.  With two young daughters, Kemar was fearful of the country they would inherit.  It motivated him to take the initiative to gather individuals together in a show of unity.

“You are the change,” he said.

The rally was held at Rufus King Park under an overcast sky.  It set a somber tone and reflected the sadness of the fatal conclusion to the rally.

Protestors unwittingly gathered in a circle while listening to elected officials in attendance at the event speak out against the violence.  At the end of the event, protestors held hands forming a circle for an ending prayer. 

It was a multicultural gathering of mostly young individuals.  The low turnout was in sharp contrast to the widespread opposition to the events in Charlottesville. 

While elected officials gathered for the event condemned the actions in Charlottesville there was more of a focused on the positive.

“The war has just begun,” said Senator James Sanders, Jr. during his turn at the podium.  “The worst is yet to come…We all need to get in shape.  Take these folks seriously.”  The Senator was speaking about how heavily outfitted the White Nationalists group was in Charlottesville highlighting its intent and preparedness.

“We know how to live together…We’ve demonstrated how to love each other,” said Council Member I Daneek Miller referring to Queens’ diversity.  “We are going to stand for all our citizens.”

The rally ended on a fiery note with remarks from Amir Abbady, QCYD VP of diversity and outreach.  Amir believed that the Democratic Party had “another year” to get it right. 

“We should create a government that represents us all.  We are diverse Americans and we all deserve a seat at the table,” he passionately exclaimed. 

The city of Charlottesville became a scene of violence as white nationalists, many with confederate flags and in Nazi gear and apparel, clashed with counter protesters.  The rally included racial taunting, violent physical exchanges and brawls.  The Governor declared a state of emergency and the National Guard had to clear the protest area. 

As the rally was dispersing, a car plowed into the crowd killing a woman and injuring more than 30 individuals.  Footage showed the driver accelerating into the crowd and quickly retreating. 

President Donald Trump refused to denounce the white nationalist hate groups at the center of the protest, choosing instead to blame the violence in Charlottesville on “both sides”.  Police were viewed as acting minimally toward protest participants.  This is in sharp contrast to their aggressive stance at Black Lives Matter demonstrations. 

Two days after the clash, the President gave a carefully delivered condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan and neo Nazi groups.   He reverted back to blaming both sides a day later.  He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were very violent when confronting the white nationalists groups that gathered in Charlottesville. 

“You had a group on one side that was bad.  You had a group on the other side that was also very violent.  Nobody wants to say that.  I’ll say it right now,” said President Trump in a Press Conference several days after the event.

 

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Delta Ladies Support Gun Violence Awareness

by Roslin SpignerMembers of the Queens Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., canvassed the streets of Queens distributing flyers in orange tees on National Gun Violence Day June 2, 2017.
Wearing the color orange in June is more than just a bold fashion statement.This vibrant color that demands to be seen is the color used to represent National Gun Violence Awareness Month. There are millions of Americans who want to end gun violence in America. As a tribute to those who lost their lives or were victims of senseless gun violence, the color orange is worn to demand being seen and heard.The ladies delivered a powerful message to the community: Please help us to keep our communities safe. Please help us to keep our nation safe. Get involved by calling your legislators. We need gun violence reform. We need it now!