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Mayor Launches New Program to Combat Anti-Semitism in Brooklyn

One of the two swastikas spray painted on Newel Street. (Rob Guarino)

Jan. 27, 2020 By Kristen Torres

The mayor has launched a new program in Brooklyn to help prevent anti-Semitic attacks that have been taking place across the area at an alarming rate.

The program will create three Neighborhood Safety Coalitions—one in Williamsburg and the others in Crown Heights and Borough Park—to protect residents who are most at risk.

Each coalition will be comprised of 24 community leaders from neighborhood religious organizations, tenant associations, community boards and schools.

The groups are being tasked with promoting cultural understanding and increasing safety for residents in their respective neighborhoods.

The coalitions will visit local schools to educate students about prejudice; conduct community anti-bias workshops; and lead neighborhood watches.

“Hate has no place in our communities, and in New York City, we watch out for our neighbors,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement Friday. “Our new Neighborhood Safety Coalitions will help communities address the root causes of hate and deter acts of violence before they occur.”
The coalitions will begin meeting in February, and are modeled off anti-violence programs operated throughout the City as proven ways to generate safety by neighbors for their neighborhoods, according to the mayor’s office.
The Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will also be working with individual coalitions to identify the specific needs of each neighborhood and create long-term plans to promote respect and combat stereotypes.

“The battle against hate crimes is multi-faceted, necessitating an ‘all hands on deck approach,'” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.

“The first hands to come together need to be all segments of the local community…their reach is deep in the community and they are the ones who have the most vested in keeping their homes and community peaceful and safe,” he added.

The city plans to allocate $200,000 to each of the three coalitions to help support their initiatives.

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