First Anti-Gang Violence Education Clinic in Harlem

Daa’iya L. Sanusi, New York Amsterdam News (via New America Media) | June 7, 2011

“There are no closed doors in my mother’s house” was one of the first lessons offered by Iesha Sekou, executive director of Street Corner Resources during the first annual Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright Anti-Gang Violence Education Clinic, organized by Wright and his chief of staff, Jeanine Johnson, and aide, Maurice Cummings.

The clinic was organized as an emergency response to the unprecedented murders engulfing the partially gentrified community of Harlem and was held at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on May 18.

Wright, who has served the Harlem community for 19 years, is taking bold steps for the people who have been left out of the wave of ownership, academic privilege and job success that have transformed many pockets of Harlem-the people left behind in the projects and nearby areas.

“In New York City there are roughly 2,500-3,000 gang members, with the majority in northern Manhattan-over 50,000 gang members are in New York State. Nearly 12 percent of Black and Latino youth have been reported as having joined a gang and they are becoming more and more dangerous,” explained Wright.

“We are here to learn how to end the plague of gangs in our neighborhoods,” he continued. “How to identify the signals that your children could be involved in gangs; successfully intervening if your loved one is in a gang. We are here to offer successful prevention tools and methods to keep gangs from further infiltrating our schools, our communities and homes.”

The Rev. Vernon Williams, co-founder of the Save Our Children Project and member of the Harlem Clergy and Community Leaders Coalition presented several alarming stories of young people who might have been spared had it not been for “KKK.” “Some people think about white sheets and burning crosses when I say ‘KKK,’ but it’s a mentality that says it’s OK to kill Black and Brown babies: ‘Kids Killing Kids.'”  (Read more)