By Rich Bockmann
A coalition of community members dedicated to unifying the needs and resources of southeast Queens is all set to hold its first town hall meeting to do just that.
The Unity in the Community Alliance was officially born in October when, at a march protesting gun violence, its members signed a statement of intent pledging to work individually and as a collective body to address the issues facing the community.
The alliance is the brainchild of the Springfield Community Church’s Rev. Philip Craig, who said that although the coalition is made up of different groups and interests, it will work as a collective with no one group at the top.
“The whole theme is for everyone to come together and decide what we would like to do in the community,” he said.
The alliance has scheduled a town hall meeting — the first of many, Craig hopes — at the Springfield Community Church Saturday, Dec. 8, to discuss the issues most affecting the community, which Craig said include the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, crime, police/community relations and unemployment.
“The biggest issues are how can the community come together,” he said. “How can we work better together in the community? How can we help one another and how can we support those in our community that need the most support?”
In October, the alliance hosted a second-chance job fair to provide resources and information for those with criminal records, and Craig, also the president of the National Action Network’s Queens chapter, said that is the kind of idea he hopes can come out of the town hall meeting.
“We’re not an employment agency, but being that we do get a lot of info — everyone brings their resources together — we’ve become sort of a catalyst for resources, with employers on this side and those seeking jobs on the other side,” he said. “We’re trying to play the matching game. We’re trying to be matchmakers.”
The town hall meeting is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. at the Springfield Community Church, at 177-06 129th Ave.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.