HHSYC and the NYPD collaborates to improve relations between the NYPD, students and the community.
Written by: Randy Fisher
Photos by: NYPD and Ashley Young
HIP-HOP SUMMIT YOUTH COUNCIL (HHSYC) IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT (NYPD) LAUNCH THE “RAP 2 BRIDGE THE GAP” INITIATIVE WITH POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND W. KELLY AND CHIEF PHILIP BANKS, III AT AUGUST MARTIN HIGH SCHOOL TO IMPROVE RELATIONS BETWEEN NYPD, STUDENTS, AND THE COMMUNITY; ADDRESS STOP, QUESTION & FRISK CONCERNS; AND IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY BY CURBING GUN & GANG VIOLENCE.
In an effort to bridge the communication gap in our schools and the community between the youth, young adults and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the HHSYC in collaboration with the NYPD launched the “Rap 2 Bridge the Gap” initiative and tour. The purpose of the project is to strengthen police-community relations through dialogue and existing programs and improve public safety by curbing gun and gang violence.
The day started out with a press conference with Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Chief Philip Banks, III, Charles and Randy Fisher, Principal Smith, August Martin students, Uncle Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box and Sharieff Fisher, President of the HHSYC’s Queens College Chapter. After the announcement of the project and taking questions from the media the second part of the event moved to a closed door “Rap Summit” in the auditorium.
The summit was a huge success with over 100 high school students in attendance. There were 8 youth leaders who asked questions to 6 NYPD representatives pertaining to Stop, Question & Frisk; probable cause; community policing; youth shootings by officers; understanding the law and your rights; and how can students and the NYPD work together to stop the violence.
The event was moderated by Charles and Randy Fisher and was an overwhelming success. An official Rap 2 Bridge the Gap Committee was formed so that students could continue to have ongoing dialogue with the HHSYC and NYPD. This is the first step towards the tweaking of Stop, Question and Frisk. We must communicate with those that are most affected if we are going to improve upon the policy. The “Rap Summit” is one of the 7 prongs to be used to improve relations between students, youth, young adults and the NYPD.
In 2003, when the police department recognized that 96% of the individuals who were shot and 90% of those murdered were concentrated in minority neighborhoods, primarily Black and Hispanic, it launched a program called Operation Impact that concentrates new officers in those areas that experience spikes in crime.
“Whether it’s promoting literacy, fighting poverty, or combating violent crime, they can always be counted on to bring people together to achieve these goals, including young people and the police,” Commissioner Kelly said. “I’m confident this program will be a big success because of their dedication.”
Commissioner Kelly said the police and the community working together have already made this a far safer city. Crime is down by more than 80% from 20 years ago, following a year in which New York had 419 murders, the fewest in 52 years. For the first quarter of 2013 murders dropped by 30% when compared with the first quarter of 2012. The city had 94 murders, compared with 66 for the first quarter, mimicking last year’s 33% decrease. Shootings and shooting victims also are down 25% this year. And New York has the lowest ratio of teenagers carrying guns of any major city in the country, according to a recent report from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Commissioner Kelly added that the NYPD will also team with the HHSYC to promote existing police department programs that already service tens of thousands of young people, including the youth police academy, summer employment, the Police Athletic League (PAL), and the department’s youth soccer and cricket leagues
“It is imperative that my students as well as all youth know that their voice can make a difference regarding issues related to NYPD SQF procedures and public safety. We all carry the responsibility of making our schools and community safer. Silent voices and bystander behavior must shift. We support this initiative and will do what we can to ensure its success,” stated Principal Smith of August Martin High School.
“I’m here today to support the great work of my community partners at HHSYC as they take on the task of helping students better understand how to deal with Stop, Question & Frisk and what they should do if approached by the police. If students and the NYPD can find a way to reduce crime and violence in troubled communities there would be no need for Stop, Question & Frisk,” ended Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box and WNYCTV.
“As a college student this is an issue that is always discussed on campus and through this new alliance we will be able to inform CUNY students about Stop, Question & Frisk so they know their rights and how to respectfully react if stopped. I’m also looking forward to working with the NYPD to support their youth initiatives in any way I can,” stated Sharieff Fisher, President of the HHSYC Queens College Chapter.
A very special thanks goes out to Commissioner Kelly, Chief Banks, III, Chief John Donohue, DI Ed Carrasco and Principal Smith for all their hard work to bring this project to fruition and make this launch a success.