Healing through community leadership

State Senator Leroy Comrie (left) greets Jean Rene.
Photo by Laura Andrews

Gun violence is not confined to the presidential debate in the United States. For instance, on the island of Jamaica, this year, there has been an estimated 900 killings. Similarly, in Chicago, Illinois, August was deemed the most violent month in 20 years for gun violence. Already, shootings are expected to reach 600 deaths by the end of the year.

Despite violent acts at the celebrated West Indian Day Carnival and 90 lives terminated by gun violence in the month of August in Chicago, political officials throughout New York City are determined to combat gun violence. Recently in Queens, local leaders held a town hall meeting to address gun violence. Strategic planning is underway to make National Night Out incorporated into the daily activities in the borough, with the most ethnically diverse community in the world.

This year, National Night Out in Rufus King Park in Jamaica, Queens had an impressive ability to convey all the trappings of a perfect unified evening. The police organizer was loaded with on-going child-friendly activities, health-awareness assistance and piles of educational information — primarily supplied by Queens Library.

“This means unity,” said Brenda Williams at the 33rd annual National Night Out, a nationwide celebration in Jamaica, NY. Clutching stacks of Queens Library giveaway products, Williams stated, “We can come together and support the 103rd precinct.”

The blending of ethnicities and interaction of people in the most diverse county in the world struck a chord for the nonprofit employee. “This is beautiful to see how we can come together; this is what God is talking about,” added Williams, acknowledging the diverse array of people eating hotdogs, hamburgers and an assortment of chips and cakes.

“This is what it is all about; we have to do this more often,” stated Williams directing her attention to constituents embracing a coterie of political leaders such as: Queens Borough President Melinda R. Katz, State Senator Leroy Comrie, Assemblywoman Alicia L. Hyndman, Councilmembers I. Daneek Miller and Ruben Wills, Community Board Leader 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick and Guy R. Brewer Board Member Manny Caughman.

“When we come together, there is no limit,” she noted, turning her attention to the location where the newly installed Queens Library CEO Dennis M. Walcott conversed with a group of NYPD officers from the 103rd precinct.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Williams without mentioning President Obama’s hot-off-the-press audacious political statement that Republican nominee Donald J. Trump is not fit to be president of the United States or Bill Bratton, the 69-year-old NYPD police commissioner surprising disclosure of his retirement from the NYPD to transition into the private sector.

Besides great weather, and time in a politically-correct park, there was the planning and production team of young NYPD Explorers arranging for bounty houses to extending relationships with Queens Library’s 62 community library’s reading programs.

“We help the precinct, we set up this [program], we make hamburgers, serve cupcakes and regular cakes and watch food lines to prevent skipping,” said Hally, a 103 Precinct Explorer. Because of Hally’s speedy judgment, a decision was made to invite Mister Softer to serve free ice cream to attendees at the National Night Out outside program, explained the young community organizer.

For the Pangan family, volunteering with Queens Library, the community event was not only a volunteering effort but also a family affair.

“It is a way of giving back to the community,” said Rosenia Pangan, as her husband,

Ray Pangan, and daughter, Renaenia Pangan, gave away literature and colorful bags to future Queens Library cardholders.

The King Manor (Rufus King House) in Rufus King Park was the home of Rufus King an abolitionist, a distinguished lawyer and a framer / signer to the Constitution.

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