Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Message Kept to Yourself is Just a Secret

On Tuesday March 20th a sea of purple tee shirts took to Kingston Ave. YO S.O.S. set up a table and went to work. Youth Organizers traveled from Eastern Parkway to St. John's on Kingston Ave spreading their message.  They talked to people about violence.  They spoke to anyone that would listen about how VIOLENCE IS LIKE A DISEASE AND TOGETHER WE CAN CURE IT.  They encouraged people to write their own messages of Peace.  Please check out our facebook album to see all the pictures from this powerful day

Next time you see us out and about please stop, introduce yourself, make your own poster and join our movement. YOUTH POWER. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


On March 21st Reean Charles, Youth Organizer and High School Intern, was featured on:


Youth violence has declined sharply over two decades–more than 70 percent in New York State, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Yet in some neighborhoods there are now increasing reports of gang activity and violence. Tensions and distrust remain high between law enforcement officials and community members – especially young people. Leaders in other cities have shown that youth, communities, and law enforcement can work together for successful solutions. Can we follow that path in New York? What strategies are already working, and how can we make them stronger?
To address these questions the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School will present “Combating Youth Violence: Concrete Solutions for New York City” on Wednesday, March 21, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., in the Theresa Lang Community & Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.
With remarks from: David Kennedy, author of Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America; and director of the John Jay Center for Crime Prevention and Control; a conversation moderated by Errol Louis, host of Inside City Hall will follow with:
This event is free, but an RSVP is required by emailing centernyc@newschool.edu.
It and the Center’s research about youth and families is made possible by the generous support of the Sirus Fund, the Milano Foundation, the Pinkerton Foundation, the Child Welfare Fund, the Viola W. Bernard Foundation and the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation.
Reean spoke beautifully about the importance of funding Youth Programs and the mindsets of youth.  She represented herself, YO S.O.S., and Brooklyn.  We are so proud of you, Reean. Congratulations! 
Reean with Council Member Mark-Viverito, Commissioner O'Conner and CEO, Sekou 

Reean's name plate at the panel
Reean with Director, David Kennedy, Director of Crime Prevention and Control
Reean with conference organizer, Talib

Friday, March 16, 2012

YO S.O.S. and BCAM High School Team Up for a Virtual Shooting Response

On Thursday March 15th Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School traveled to The YOASIS in Crown Heights for a lively and powerful disccusion on violence in our lives.  The young people showed their insights and discussed the power within themselves to transform their communites and the world.  The staff from BCAM and YO S.O.S. were in awe of the insiprational ideas and concepts that the youth discussed.  At the end one young person from BCAM said it was a moment for, "Coalition building and movement making." Thanks so much for coming to our space BCAM, we couldn' have asked for more. 

Here are some pictures from our own "Virtual Shooting Response."  These are the messages we want to share about violence, in our own voices.  If you want to see more pictures check out the S.O.S. blog.  You can post your OWN virtual shooting response picture on our facebook pages: www.facebook.com/yosos or www.facebook.com/soscrownheights

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Meet Marlon Peterson, YO S.O.S. Program Coordinator

Columbia Journalism student Suvro Banerji has put together a photo essay about YO S.O.S. Program Coordinator Marlon Peterson. Marlon grew up in Crown Heights, attending P.S. 148, where he graduated as valedictorian and played the steel drum in the renowned Pan Sonatas Steel Orchestra.

As Marlon says:

"Crown Heights is my home. From the hallways of P.S. 138 on Prospect Place and Nostrand Avenue to Brower Park to Sonatas Steel Orchestra on Sterling and Troy to the West Indian Day Parade on Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights is my home. I am a true product of this neighborhood. I have received academic accolades in one vein and handcuffs in the other. I have seen Crown Heights grow from the crack-filled, crime-riddled days of the 1980’s to the gentrifying neighborhood it is becoming. Throughout it all, however, there has remained one constant; crime. As someone that has been on both sides of the crime spectrum as a youth, I have experienced the pain both as the victim and perpetrator of how violence feels. I have experienced the indifference and apathy that many of us feel towards violence in our community. Furthermore, as someone that has spent many years working with young people in Brooklyn, I know of their ability to influence our neighborhood for the good and the bad."

Before he was the YO S.O.S. program coordinator, Marlon worked as a Violence Interrupter with the S.O.S. program. Marlon was recently honored at the graduation ceremony of Center for Community Alternatives, where he addressed the graduating group. In addition to acting as program coordinator for YO S.O.S., Marlon is a student at New York University. We're not sure how he does it all.

To learn more about Marlon and the YO S.O.S. program, please watch Interrupting Violence in Crown Heights by Suvro Banerji and Jackie Mader from NYC in Focus, visit the YO S.O.S. blog, like them on facebook, and follow them on twitter.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Our New Project

Campaign to End Violence: Curing Violence
YO S.O.S. presenting Curing Violence at the Youth Justice Board, also a program of the Center for Court Innovation. 

Violence and the threat of violence, particularly, gun violence, is a prevalent ant pervasive problem amongst teens in urban neighborhoods.  The perception that access to illegal guns for teens is easier than ever; so much so, that one Brooklyn teen said, “Guns are like sneakers—anybody can get them.”   Violence is of particular concern for African American and Latino teens. Homicide is the leading cause for death African Americans, and the second leading cause of death for Latino teens according to 2010 Centers For Disease Control & Prevention statistics.. 

Our FIRST presentation at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center.

Understanding that violence is a learned behavior that passed on much like a communicable disease, we also understand that like a disease, violence can be cured when appropriate steps are taken.  These steps that range from identification to understanding its transmission to intervening or interrupting this transmission that equals a termination of the disease. Moreover, since young people are those most likely to be the victim and be victimized by violence, particularly gun violence; they should also be empowered to be messengers of the cure.
The Campaign to End Violence: Curing Violence curriculum trains teenagers to be credible messengers as teens to put the youth voice to forefront as solution-oriented persons for the plague of urban gun violence.
Overall Goals
At the conclusion of the curriculum, we hope that the youth organizers will achieve the following goals:
·         Have a greater understanding of the statistics related to gun violence locally and nationally
·         Be introduced to the CeaseFire Chicago model of violence interruption
·         Understand how violence acts like a disease and be able to draw correlations to diseases such as, HIV, the Plague, and  the flu
·         Have an understanding of terms like: transmission, epidemic, and social pressure, and group norms
·         Be able to explain how violence is influenced by mindsets that can be eventually influenced for  positive
·         Feel capable, motivated, and be prepared to give public presentations of the Curing Violence curriculum
Violence is like a disease, what are you doing to stop it from spreading?

 Calendar of  YO S.O.S. Campaign to End Violence: Curing Violence Presentations

Do you want Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets to present their "Campaign to End Violence: Curing Violence" to your organization or school? Please contact us at yosos@crownheights.org to set up a presentation.

Tuesday, February 21st 2012 --     Crown Heights Community Mediation Center 
Thursday, February 23rd 2012 --   Youth Justice Board, Center for Court Innovation 
Monday, April 2nd 2012 --            YouthAction 

Together we CAN make change!