7PM Tonight! HNBA’s March Meeting

We hope to see you tonight for HNBA’s March community meeting. We’ll meet at 2306 3rd Avenue (the Salvation Army building) at 7:00 PM and yes, we’re expecting you.

Starting at 7:00, we’ll have two presentations. The first will be from Tapashi Narine, the new administrator for Harlem’s four historic parks (Morningside, Jackie Robinson, St. Nicholas, and Marcus Garvey) and her colleague from NYC Parks Enforcement – Sgt. Celia Joseph. Tapashi will tell us more about upcoming spring and summer park programming and events for you and your family, and Sgt. Joseph will talk about public safety in and around Marcus Garvey Park.

Then, as our main event, we’ll have a presentation from Exodus House and their Peace Brokers program of violence interrupter organization that works to reduce (youth) gun violence in our community.

The Peace Broker team is staffed by Credible Messengers with the goal of addressing gang/gun violence in Harlem and the South Bronx. As with all of Exodus programming, the Peace Broker team collaborates with different CBOs and focuses on engaging with the community, identifying known gang affiliates and their leaders, and working with them to become active entities in the reduction of gang/gun violence in their community.

Exodus House and their team have been instrumental in working with teens who are at risk of gang engagement and defusing community tensions. The Peace Brokers are also focused on the many root causes of community violence and advocating for an end to systemic barriers to success.

The Peace Brokers have been awarded money from the District Attorney of New York to work with at-risk teens and are helping to keep our community safe day-in and day-out and Ben Wilson AKA Cincere will present on the topic:

Ben (Cincere) Wilson is an award-winning writer (Pen America 2015). He is a credible messenger, a national gang specialist, a violence de-escalator, a conflict resolution specialist, restorative practice facilitator. For over 15 years, he has facilitated GED, mentoring, poetry, theater and alternative to violence programs in correctional facilities. He designed a creative writing course with the primary focus on college prep and every student who took his course went on to college. He has written essays, poems, short stories, speeches, and promotional compositions. His work was published in multiple newsletters, radio programs, and the Five Percenter newspaper. He is a founding member of The Institute for Transformative Mentoring (ITM) at the NewSchool University in New York City. While working at Exodus Transitional Community, Cincere created a successful anti-violence program for incarcerated youth on Rikers Island. Cincere is now employed as an Exodus Peace Broker whose mission is to help reduce gang and gun violence in the Harlem community. He is currently mentoring young adults and high school age youth. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bard College.

The Chemicals Used in Harlem Parks

With spring just around the corner and a representative from the NYC Parks Department coming to our HNBA meeting, it’s worth revisting the 2020 study published by The Black Institute, titled: Poisoned Parks.

In the study, Harlem residents were found to be exposed to concerning levels of glyphosate, a potential carcinogen, due to its use in city parks and playgrounds. While wealthier residents often leave the city during summer, low-income families rely on these public spaces, putting them at higher risk.

Harlem in Manhattan saw disproportionate spraying compared to other areas, with 42 out of 50 sprayed locations were situated in the neighborhood.

This raises concerns about conscious or unconscious environmental racism, as Harlem residents – and children in particular – may unknowingly experience significant exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.