As part of the celebration of the inaugural Queens Promotes Peace Conference, Richards issued proclamations to some of the CMS organizations at Borough Hall.
The six CMS organizations to receive the proclamations were Love Ignites Freedom through Education (LIFE) Camp, Community Capacity Development, Rock Safe Streets, King of Kings Foundation, 100 Suits and Fathers Alive in the Hood (FAITH). According to Richards, CMS organizations like these have been shown to statistically decrease gun violence in their communities.
“The city’s own data shows that the Crisis Management System works,” Richards said. “From 2010-2019, data shows that CMS has contributed to an average 40% reduction in shootings across the program areas and a 31% decrease in the high-danger areas of New York City. In 2017, we saw a 15% drop in shootings after the city invested nearly $40 million to Crisis Management Systems. The numbers don’t lie.”
Founded in 2002 by Erica Ford, LIFE Camp provides programs and other holistic approaches to reinforce self-esteem and respect for life among one another. Through community outreach, intervention and engagement, the organization provides youth and families impacted by violence with valuable tools needed to stay in school and out of the criminal justice system.
Additionally, they connect and mobilize youths to prevent and heal from violence in the city’s most underserved communities. The organization’s goals are to reduce violence, create connections, build healthy families, develop leaders and scale results.
Operating in multiple cities across the country, Community Capacity Development aims to uproot the systemic challenges facing marginalized communities of color. They work to help provide the tools and frameworks needed to support sustainable growth and promote entrepreneurial values and positive mindsets/mental health. A wide range of programs and services are offered to provide technical assistance, capacity building and professional development for individuals of color as well as businesses they may be operating.
Operating in Far Rockaway, Queens, Rock Safe Streets aims to heal communities impacted by gun violence while also trying to prevent further violence. They attempt to cure this violence through prevention, treatment for trauma, advocacy, education and pathways to stronger, safer communities. Its staff members attempt to leverage their credibility to effectively de-escalate conflict and build community momentum toward peace and economic development.
Among the services offered by Rock Safe Streets is confidential support for young adults with histories of violence wishing to start fresh; youth and job development for young adults who may be at risk of turning to violence or gangs; expert conflict mediation between individuals or groups; referrals to free counseling for children, adults and families exposed to violence or other stresses; community events to celebrate peace and strengthen positive community relationships; anti-violence outreach campaigns; and anti-violence education.
Founded by former drug kingpins Todd and Lance Feurtado in 2005, the King of Kings Foundation aims to educate youths about the dangers posed by guns, drugs, gang violence and not having an education. They offer several different workshop programs related to gang awareness, anger management, anti-bullying, violence among teens, combating obesity, HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention, the dangers of drugs, how to handle being stopped by the police and several other programs.
The King of Kings Foundation networks with schools, educators, elected officials, faith leaders, community-based organizations, law officials, community stakeholders and local businesses to help build stronger and safer communities. They work to develop positive nonviolent attitudes and lifetime decision-making skills in the mindset of future leaders to change the direction of violence.
Founded by Ken Livingston in 2011, 100 Suits helps underprivileged people build dignity, self-esteem, foster self-sufficiency, dispel stereotypes, promote community involvement and improve their role in society. They help those in need of work look presentable for job interviews by providing the proper business attire for these meetings. This can lead to them finding lucrative employment and living more productive lives.
Founded in 2012, FAITH aims to nurture and develop interpersonal relationships between children, parents, schools, religious institutions and communities. The organization provides father figures to at-risk youths to help mentor them and keep them out of trouble. Some of the initiatives that FAITH takes part in include employment initiative programs, gang intervention and anti-gun violence peace walks.
Queens crisis management leaders also took part in a panel discussion on what true peace in our communities looks like, with Deputy Borough President Ebony Young moderating the panel. Additionally, the NYPD put on a self-defense training demonstration. There was also a meditation session.
In addition to the six organizations that received proclamations, several other community support organizations had their own tables at the conference. This conference spotlighted organizations that uplift children and adults dealing with the root causes of crime that plague our communities, including access to housing and employment insecurity and a lack of mental health resources and mentoring services, among others.