2009-04-03 / Community

DA Brown Sponsors 'Say No To Violence'

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and many of his assistants and staff members toured nine New York City public schools in Far Rockaway, Queens, this week in celebration of the community's annual "Say No to Violence" week. The week-long event recognizes the community's efforts to prevent youth and gun violence.

On Tuesday, March 24, the District Attorney joined former Mayor David Dinkins in speaking to third, fourth and fifth grade children at Public School 106 located at 180 Beach 35 Street in Far Rockaway.

"The young people of Far Rockaway share with all teenagers the challenge to make peaceful choices when settling their problems," Brown said. During 'Say No To Violence Week' the students of Far Rockaway heard from a variety of speakers of whom each brought a unique voice to the concerns facing our youth.

Detective Steven McDonald - paralyzed by a gunshot fired by a 15-yearold boy more than 20 years ago - told students how one teen's decision to carry a fire-arm and use it has affected both the teen's and Detective McDonald's lives forever. Other speakers spoke of the importance of keeping a positive and hopeful outlook despite inevitable setbacks. The goal of the week is to emphasize that violence - no matter what form it takes - should be avoided at all costs.

"In celebrating 'Say No To Violence Week', students should remember that their parents, teachers and public officials support and encourage their efforts. The students should walk away from this week with one message: Violence and retaliation are never the answer," Brown added.

Among the participants in this year's presentations in addition to Mayor Dinkins were Detective Steven Mc- Donald, Borough President Helen Marshall, Human Rights Commissioner Patricia Gatling, McGruff the Crime Dog, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, CBS News Reporter Lou Young, Queens Supreme Court Justice Patricia Satterfield, Assemblywoman Michelle Titus, Fox 5 Meteorologist Mike Woods, NY1 Reporter Ruschell Boone, Child Advocate Darryl Gibbs, Motivational Speaker Lecelle Providence, and Friends of Island Academy teachers, who work with youth incarcerated on Rikers Island. Throughout the week, the participating schools heard from public officials and police officers. The schools were decorated with posters created by the students, and the poster and essay contest winners are expected to be announced next week.

The participating schools are: PS 42, PS 43, PS 104, PS 106, PS 197, PS 215, PS 333, MS 53, and Far Rockaway High School.

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