New Weed and Seed Leaders Begin Redefining F.R.Site
The Far Rockaway Weed and Seed steering committee began an overall restructuring during its meeting on November 16. The new co-chairs of the committee, Ed Williams and DeShawn Mason, announced their intention to expand relationships with elected officials and organizations in the community.
“There are 40 or 50 organizations in these catchment areas that have no one here,” said Williams.
“We got to be out there and in it like Weed and Seed [sites] around the country. We need to see this thing grow, and see it grow right.”
Mason seconded Williams.
“The key is for folks to understand they have an input, an involvement,” Mason said. “It is all key to our survival in this steering committee.”
Several sub-committees have already been formed, including the community outreach subcommittee.
Members of this committee will most likely become the face of Weed and Seed as they spread the word about the Far Rockaway program by attending local meetings to, not only, report back to the steering committee on what is happening in the area but also make suggestions for new members.
Weed and Seed is a federal program, overseen by the Department of Justice’s Community Capacity Development Office. It is a strategy between law enforcement and local organizations to fight crime and improve the
quality of life for those living in the site
areas. Ed Williams (right) and DeShawn Mason want to bring more local organizations, community representatives and elected officials into the mix to help expand and sustain the programs when Far Rockaway is no longer a part of Weed and Seed. Pammie Fulton, the community organizer and case manager at Ocean Bay Development Corporation and Jacqueline McMikle of Addabbo Family Health Center, represents two of the local agencies on the steering committee. Also at the meeting were representatives for Councilman James Sanders, Jr. and State Senator Malcolm Smith. Richard Capobianco, the law enforce ment coordinator for the Eastern district of New York for the U.S. Department of Justice/United States Attorney’s Office is the liaison between the DOJ and the Rockaway Weed and Seed. Capobianco stressed that “there is power in collaboration…[ everyone] has to work together.”