Posted by: vote4claxton | July 15, 2008




Redfern Community Center Re-Opens in Far Rockaway
Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith hosted a press conference at the Redfern Community Center in Far Rockaway on the morning of July 7th to celebrate the center’s grand re-opening. Closed since May, the Senator has allocated $80,000 to keep the Redfern Community Center open for the months of July and August for the Summer Day Camp program and through September for an evening teen program.

The Redfern Community Center was one of several Community Centers that NYCHA was forced to close primarily because of inadequate funding, which has led to an overall budget deficit of $170 million for the current fiscal year.

“Your elected officials don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk,” said NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez to the residents gathered at the Community Center’s entrance that hot muggy morning. “When Malcolm called me about this, I knew we were going to have a rough time trying to figure out how to maintain our community centers.”

Along with Redfern Resident Association President Doris Jacobs, the Chairman was joined by Congress Member Gregory Meeks, Assembly Members Audrey Pfeffer and Michele Titus, City Council Members James Sanders, Jr. and Michael Liu, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

A spate of gun violence at or near the Redfern Houses back in May led many in this same group to come together to find ways of protecting residents by ending gun violence in the community. The answer – Operation SNUG. “Today is the official kick-off of Operation SNUG” said Senator Smith. The letters in the acronym S.N.U.G., which is “GUNS” spelled backwards, stand for the strategy behind the operation: “S” for Street intervention and Stopping the violence; “N” for National, State and Local funding support; “U” for the Use of celebrities and centers; and “G” for Gangs, Guns and Gainful employment.

“If we invest in these young people today it means there will be less people that Commissioner Kelly and District Attorney Brown will have to see tomorrow,” said Congress Member Meeks. “What we have done out of a tragedy, is put together a program that will benefit not only Redfern, but the State of New York,” Congress Member Meeks said. He added that the program will also serve as a national model.”

“I thank Senator Smith and all the elected officials who have heeded the call of our community on a regular basis,” said Marq Claxton of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, who was also at the conference. “After the shooting death of 15-year-old Brandon Bethea we came out here to encourage people, to breathe life back into the projects – and the community came out in force.”

“Reopening this Center is very important,” added Senator Smith. “It signals that we are all working together.”

By Eileen Elliott
July 14, 2008








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