Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg selected Monday ten community-based organizations he plans on funding in hopes of reducing youth gun violence.
Bragg made the announcement at the 301 Henry Street Settlement’s indoor basketball court and says he plans on awarding each pick $20,000 to aid their battle in gun crime prevention. For Bragg, this means teen engagement, after-school programs, youth employment, religious teachings, and more designed to keep at-risk young people off the streets and a part of a nurturing group.
“They are essential threads of our public safety network. We need them, all our mentors, counselors, and clergy are incredible messengers and the work that you all do every day is an inspiration,” Bragg said. “I mean that’s public safety work in action, and we want to salute that.”
The District Attorney was joined by the recipients, including Urban Youth Alliance/BronxConnect; The Children’s Village; The Community Initiatives; Emergent Works; Exodus Transitional Community, and more. According to Bragg, each organization produced unique and thoughtful ways of keeping young people committed to the programs, such as paying them stipends for what essentially has become meaningful jobs.
Assignments included group participation and helping to beautify locations known for frequent shooting sites. These award funds will be allotted to help keep these projects going during what is a particularly trying financial time.
“We’ve realized that we need to hear from the future generation and understand where they are. We need to meet them where they are and elevate them,” Janet Cohen, Program Director at Community Initiatives said. “It’s about empowering the youth to understand that they know that their voice matters.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s Office is providing these awards through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which was created using millions seized in the Office’s Investigations against major banks and is administered by the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance. Bragg also states that he believes funding prevention is just as imperative as taking enforcement action.
“As Manhattan District Attorney, my top priority is driving down gun violence. That means taking action not only through enforcement – like last week’s takedown of a major violent criminal enterprise – but, critically, prevention. The ten community-based organizations receiving funding today are essential threads in the fabric of public safety,” Bragg said.