HARLEM - NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force will today launch a series of community discussions, which will bring together key community leaders, public housing residents and young people to discuss the rise in violence in the neighborhood and to brainstorm collectively about ways to address it. Among the issues covered at this meeting will be gun violence, bullying, gangs and the need for a more positive relationship between police and the community. Following an open mic section, attendees will go into breakout groups for solution-oriented discussions on particular topics that will provide opportunities for youth to take ownership over efforts to curb violence in the community. In order to tailor the discussion to specific parts of El Barrio/East Harlem, today's meeting will focus in on 96th to 106th Streets (from 5th Avenue to the East River). Subsequent meetings, to be scheduled in the coming months, will cover 107th to 116th Streets and 117th to 128th Streets.
The El Barrio/East Harlem community has witnessed a serious increase in violence, particularly among youth. In response to these trends, Council Member Viverito formed the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force, which aims to directly involve young people in the development of positive alternatives that will counter the increase in violence among youth.
Prior to the community discussion, the Council Member and members of the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force will hold a brief press conference to speak to reporters about the work of the Task Force and the goals of the event. Following the press conference, reporters will be invited to join the meeting to hear directly from youth, community leaders and other local residents.