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Mayor de Blasio Launches Anti-Hate Crime Neighborhood Safety Coalitions

January 24, 2020

Operating out of the Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park neighborhoods, the coalitions bring together leaders from more than 70 concerned leaders and community groups

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the formation of three Neighborhood Safety Coalitions (NSCs) in Brooklyn neighborhoods that have experienced recent disturbing incidents against Jewish community members. Operating out of the Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park neighborhoods, the Coalitions bring together leaders from more than 70 community institutions to create a visible network of ambassadors for neighborhood safety and unity, mobilize community response, and promote cultural understanding.

“Hate has no place in our communities, and in New York City, we watch out for our neighbors,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our new Neighborhood Safety Coalitions will help communities address the root causes of hate and deter acts of violence before they occur.”

Made up of a diverse cross-section of each neighborhood, each NSC will work to fulfill the mission the Mayor laid down in the wake of the violent attacks on the Jewish communities in Jersey City, NJ and Monsey, NY.

The coalitions, which will begin meeting in February, are modeled on anti-violence programs that have for years operated throughout the City as proven ways to generate safety by neighbors for their neighborhoods. Applying these core, time-tested principles, each NSC consists of leaders from approximately 24 community religious congregations, local organizations, tenant associations, community boards, businesses, and schools from of the three each neighborhoods.  

The Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will work with the individual coalitions to identify the unique needs within each neighborhood, and will both scale existing efforts as well as develop innovative, long-term strategies that promote respect and break down stereotypes. The NSCs will also offer visible, physical presences in their communities such as neighborhood walks and speakers bureaus in schools and community organizations.

Each NSC will look to design and implement neighborhood-specific efforts to address hate crimes, providing a platform for community-driven solutions. Meeting approximately once a month, the coalitions are tasked with facilitating real and productive dialogue among community partners to generate concrete strategies to address root causes of hate crimes, mobilize residents in response to incidents, and promote cultural understanding among community groups that leads to opportunities for positive social interaction.

To help provide day-to-day support for the coalitions’ initiatives, the City plans to provide $200,000 to each of the three neighborhoods.

While each coalition will determine the programming best suited for their neighborhood, programs may include:

  • Neighborhood walks and corner watches led by diverse groups of NSC members, reinforcing a message of unity and common purpose to confront bias-motivated violence
  • Speakers bureaus consisting of diverse community members and peer messengers that will tour neighborhood schools to educate students about how stereotypes and prejudice can escalate into hate incidents and violence
  • Distribute Safe in the City micro-grants, a proven tool to support community based actions that reduce conflict
  • Conduct neighborhood anti-bias workshops and community-building events
  • Work with local schools to promote parent engagement and workshops
  • Produce and distribute materials combatting hate that use credible neighborhood messengers  
  • Pop-up tents to encourage neighbors to gather and meet each other

“Long-lasting change starts from the ground up, and the Neighborhood Safety Coalitions will help ensure our communities have the resources and support to celebrate their diversity and deter acts of hate,” said Deborah Lauter, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. “I applaud and thank every one of the coalition members for their commitment to their communities.”

“The Neighborhood Safety Coalitions announced today are based on tried and true community-based models that embrace diversity and work toward respect and safety for all. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is honored to help bring New Yorkers together to stand alongside their neighbors against hate and in support of community,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“Our city must stand together against hate. All New Yorkers should feel safe, and we must all work together to make sure no one is afraid in our city. I commend Mayor de Blasio for increasing NYPD outreach efforts to safeguard our Jewish communities at risk to eliminate anti-Semitic violence. I also thank NYPD Commissioner Shea for heeding my call to include hate crimes data in CompStat reports to increase local transparency and accountability. The rise in hate crimes is unacceptable, and we must look at using every resource possible to make sure to protect all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

“Rooting out intolerance and hate takes a comprehensive effort that combines enforcement, education, dialogue and unity,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “That’s why I commend the Mayor and his Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes for creating Neighborhood Safety Coalitions that will build on Brooklyn’s diversity to combat bias and promote tolerance. My Office stands ready to support this important initiative.”

“The battle against hate crimes is multi-faceted, necessitating an “all hands on deck approach”. The first hands to come together need to be all segments of the local community where these attacks are happening. Their reach is deep in the community and they are the ones who have the most vested in keeping their homes and community peaceful and safe. The NSC coupled with all levels of government dedicating the appropriate resources will enable us to stabilize the crisis of hate crimes that keeps sinking into our streets. We are grateful to the Mayor for his stewardship of the NSC and the city’s response to anti-Semitic hate crimes,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.

“The recent violent attacks, especially those on our Jewish sisters and brothers, have deeply shaken our neighborhood, our city, and our nation, and serve as a clarion call. It is a time for us to come together and take action as one united community against hate. El Puente, as our name suggests, is committed to building bridges with our neighborhood partners to inspire unity and understanding that will nurture a community of respect for all, regardless of religion, race, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. For decades, Williamsburg’s diverse communities have come together in times of struggle, and in this critical moment, we must do it again,” said Frances Lucerna, Co-Founder & Executive Director of El Puente.

“I thank Mayor de Blasio for creating the Neighborhood Safety Coalition and seeking ways to combat and eradicate hate from our neighborhoods,” said Avi Greenstein, CEO of the Boro Park Jewish Community Council. “I look forward to being a partner with the Mayor’s new Prevention of Hate Crimes office in leading the efforts to work towards the safety of the Boro Park community as an integral part of this vital coalition.”

“This has been ongoing, year in and year out. It’s not only happening in Crown Heights, but all around the U.S. I will be asking Faith leaders to get together to pray about this,” said Karl Cohen, President of the 71st Precinct Community Council.

“Neighbors In Action denounces all forms of violence and will continue working with community members to promote safety and healing for everyone,” said Roshan Johnson, Associate Director of Safety for Crown Heights, Neighbors in Action.

“We are horrified by the recent series of attacks on Jewish people and continuing anti-Semitic activities which encourage hate. We stand together as a community to stop these attacks and the  hate language which corrodes community wellbeing,” said Michael Rochford, Executive Director of St. Nick’s Alliance.

“We were honored that the Mayor built on the work that has been done in crown heights as a model for the rest of the City,” said Rabbi Eli Cohen, Executive Director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

I want to thank the Mayor for putting together this coalition of community leaders to show the “world that we stand together against hate crimes and will do everything in our power to bring our families and the communities together,” said Mike Tucker, Founder of the Lay the Guns Down Foundation.

“Hate crimes in our city, state and country continue to rise at alarming rates. Our collective efforts as human beings to interrupt, change, dismantle and ultimately eradicate the cycle of violence will be what resets the moral compass in our communities and provide an opportunity for us to restore some the humanity that has been stolen from us all. This process begins with how we see, hear and treat each other as human beings. I look forward to working with individuals and communities who will look at hate crimes in all its forms and against all communities in order to work toward solutions that will end the hate and violence,” said Juan Ramos, Executive Director of Southside United HDFC.

“Thank you Mayor deBlasio for making safety a priority in our community. If Clergy and Communities come together to address safety and have conversations with the Youth, all things will work together for the good” said Sr. Pastor Gwen Dingle, The Pentecostal House of Prayer.

"People often commit hate crimes because they fear what they don’t understand. Therefore, it is important to educate people on cultural differences. In joining this coalition, I hope to help educate those with misunderstanding of different cultures and break down negative stereotypes that lead to animosities,” said Louie Liu, Brooklyn Asian Civilian Observational Patrol.

“Where our community was once a melting pot , it has now become a  beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different hopes and dreams is now the beauty of our city,” said Karina Costantino, District 20 Elementary and Middle School Superintendent.

"In this difficult time our differences unite us more than they divide us. I accept this challenge to come together for the betterment of our community," said Rob Solano Cofounder & Executive Director of Churches United For Fair Housing, Inc.

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