What Will Yetta Do About the Hate Crime in the West Village?

08/02/2009

Those of us who live in the West Village know there is a serious hate-crime problem here.

The large majority of the perpetrators of this hate-crime are LGBT youth who visit the West Village.

West Villagers are known for their full support of the LGBT community, and I perosnally share that. I want all LGBT persons to enjoy every liberty that any other US citizen enjoys, and I feel very strongly about this.

Some of the LGBT youth who visit the West Village are good neighbors, but many are not.

Here are the assaultive behaviors WV residents, merchants, and visitors tolerate from many LGBT youth:

Being spit at or on
Being verbally harassed
Being verbally sexually harassed
Being followed
Being threatened with robbery
Being called a “white bitch”, a “chink bitch”, or other racial epithets
Being robbed
Being stabbed
Being mugged
Being beaten
Having already-eaten chicken wings thrown at them
Being punched or nearly punched in the face
and a favorite of many LGBT youth, having an LGBT youth scream directrly and intentionally and loudly into your ear just as they walk next to you and pass you by.

These are all assaultive, violent behaviors and they are aimed at anyone who appears vulnerable: women walking alone, the elderly, the disabled, even children.

YETTA: PLEASE ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

Certainly, we as a community must have compassion for and want our tax dollars to help these young people We want them to get their needs met. We want them to have:

Housing
Food
Clothing
Education
Health care
Counseling
Career Counseling
Job placement
Acceptance for who they are

I want to see all of these young people get their needs met and develop into happy, healthy, productive law-abiding citizens who have joy in their lives.

And, I fully understand that these young people are severely marginalized and are rightly angry about many things.

HOWEVER: they must STOP taking their anger out on anyone in their path who appears vulnerable to them and unable to defend themselves. THEY are ONLY perpetrating abuse and violence and IT MUST STOP!

I have asked Scott Stringer and Chirstine Quinn many times to organize a TAKE BACK THE NIGHT MARCH — FOR EVERYONE to send a CLEAR MESSAGE that not only do LGBT youth deserve to be able to come to the West Village where they say they feel comfortable and accepted, but that EVERYONE ELSE ALSO DESERVES SAFETY!!!!

YETTA! What will you do?

Thanks
Denise


How Can Residents and Business Owners Support the Youth Who Visit GV to be Good Neighbors and Not Violent At All?

07/03/2009

What is the method that will work? I will admit that I don’t know.

I once mentioned to a woman who works with FIERCE that I’d be happy to donate some clothes that no longer fit me to any young transgender youth who might need woman’s clothing, and the reply I got was that they wouldn’t want “last season’s clothes” Okay. So, what are some other options?

How can we, who feel and are regularly victimized by a group of very troubled and angry youth, communicate to these young people that we are not their enemy?

How do you disarm someone who is so marginalized and so angry that they lash out with violence?

This is a diversity issue in that we need to understand diversity issues in order to resolve these community conflicts; however, the fact that diversity plays a part does not make any violence that occurs acceptable or okay. It is never okay and that still needs to be communicated.

However, I’ve come to realize that even if we were to be successful in having NYC print up and distribute pamphlets for the young people that would explain to them the importance of not blocking the sidewalks, not touching people, not screaming in people’s ears, and not hitting, grabbing or punching people; we would still have a problem.

These young people have strong feelings of anger. The shouting and sign-carrying at the community meetings does not constitute real communication. There need to be responses to the statements that are made.

To the community I want to say I share the difficulty in being asked to be patient. This problem has been going on for nearly two decades with very little meaningful positive intervention from NYC–until recently when more police were added to the streets.

I recently had the privilege of hearing William Blair, Chief of Toronto’s Police speak at the International Emotional Intelligence Conference. He spoke of the importance of the police forging relationships with any community that feels or is marginalized for whatever reason. He knows there are bad guys and he spoke of them, and I do realize that many of the kids who visit GV are engaging in very bad behavior; stabbing, mugging, kicking, grabbing, sexually assaulting, robbing, threatening, following, and beating. This must stop and it must be handled as much as possible by our new beat officers.

However, for those kids who are not part of the problem, we need to forge positive relationships with them and help make them part of the solution.

I believe this can be done. I also had the privilege of attending a diversity workshop/presentation by Shakil Choudhury and Annahid Dashtgard from Anima Leadership, based in Toronto. I believe that just as Shakil and Annahid teach mindfulness, use of Emotional Intelligence, and basic empathy skills, we can do this in the West Village.

I would like to invite those young people who are not violent or assaultive and who wish to be a part of the solution to please contact me with your ideas on how we can improve this community situation.

Thank you
Denise


What are the feelings and needs of those affected by the violence in the West Village?

05/31/2009

I know that the feelings of those who live in, work in or visit the West Village are fear and anger in response to the ongoing violence which never seems to be acknowledged by our elected officials. Our need is simply to be safe.

I can only guess about the feelings and needs of the young people who commit violence against others. I do know from conversations I’ve had with some of the young people that they are:

Angry, Hurt, and Scared. I am guessing their needs are for acceptance, safety, and respect.

How can we communicate to these young people that they will not get acceptance, safety, or respect by victimizing others? How we can help them understand that their anger, hurt, and fear will not go away just because they lash out at innocent people walking down the street?

I have asked the LGBT Center on 13th Street to please open its doors to these young people at night and to try to meet some of their needs, but they have refused to do so.

I have written to all of our elected officials and have asked them to accurately measure the violence, but they refuse to do so.

I have written to Christine Quinn and have asked for a TAKE BACK THE NIGHT MARCH for EVERYONE – with the message that we all deserve to feel and be safe, but she has not agreed to this idea.

It seems to me that we all have the very same need: the need to be and feel safe.

I appeal to FIERCE, The Door, the many organizations who have mobile units on Christopher St, and our elected officials to call upon www.NYCNVC.com to meet with the young people and do workshops and trainings around Non-Violent Communication.

Thanks
Denise

http://www.LoveAndWorkCoach.com


We’ve had more Hate-Crime in the West Village

05/17/2009

Sadly, a man was beaten badly a few nights ago on Christopher St. and 7th Ave. It is believed to be a hate crime. What we need to remember is that hate crime goes all ways – just as hate directed at someone because they are LGB or T is reprehensible, so is hate directed at someone because they are not LGBT. Regardless of what aspect of someone’s race, color, gender, sexuality, age, disability, ethnicity, religion, or whatever is what is disliked and motivates a crime – it is still a hate crime.

Therefore, hate crimes can be committed against any of us. Hate crimes can be committed BY any of us. Hopefully we all choose NOT to commit hate crimes. We are ALL vulnerable to this kind of despicable crime – and we are all responsible for choosing NOT to engage in such hateful and criminal behavior.

Someone once said to me once in an attempt to explain why so many of the young troubled people on Christopher St. are violent towards others, that they get beat up and harassed alot in their home schools, families, and neighborhoods. THAT DOESN’T MATTER! THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VICTIMIZING OTHERS!

When someone is victimized because of their sexuality whether that sexuality is assumed to be LGBT or straight – it is still a hate crime. Let FIERCE give a lecture on this topic to its membership and make this very clear. When the young people who hang out in the West Village harass, follow, threaten, scream at, rob, grab, punch, kick, trip, mug, stab, or otherwise bother others – they are committing hate crimes just as despicable as what landed this latest victim in the intensive care unit.

So, kids, STOP screaming in our ears, following us, threatening us, touching and grabbing us, harassing us, robbing us, hitting us, kicking us, tripping us, mugging us, and stabbing us. When you do those things, you are committing hate crimes.

And, even if you disagree that you’re committing hate crimes, (though you are), you are still committing CRIMES.

We all deserve to be safe.

Be sure to make a contribution to the Christopher St. Patrol and the Guardian Angels when you get a chance. And, be safe.

Thanks.


Wanted: persons to be interviewed in West Village Documentary

05/09/2009

Please email me if you would like to be interviewed in the West Village documentary.

1. If you have been victimized in the West Village.
2. If you are a young person who hangs out in the West Village.
3. If you are an attorney who can write a film release for use for anyone appearing on film to sign. Pro bono.

Contact me at www.LoveAndWorkCoach.com

Thanks
Denise


A Comparison of Safety in the WV to Safety in other NYC nabes

05/02/2009

I lived in Washington Heights for about 8 years before I moved to the charming West Village. I felt safer in Washington Heights. Yes, there were drug dealers there, but they never bothered me. I could take a lovely stroll at night and enjoy the crisp spring air or the warm summer air and say hello to neighbors who were also out walking.

In the West Village, I am not safe despite the heroic efforts of The Christopher Street Patrol, The Guardian Angels, and the 6th Precinct Police Officers who walk their beats.

The young people who enjoy terrorizing others in the West Village do not do so when the police, guardian angels or Street Patrol people are around.

We need undercover police who can catch the perpetrators of violence in the act.

We also need a study of the violence to measure just how bad it is. Scott Stringer funded a study to measure the prevalence and severity of sexual harassment of women on NYC subways.

I am a woman and have experienced sexual harassment on the NYC subway system; it’s awful to be leered at, groped, or rubbed up against. Absolutely terrible. But the violence that is perpetrated against all residents, merchants, and visitors to the West Village is FAR WORSE than subway sexual harassment.

I know; I’ve experienced both multiple times.

To Scott Stringer: FUND a study of West Village violence by using a simple survey. Do it inexpensively by allowing me to design the questions at no charge. I studied instrument (measurement) design in grad school at Columbia. I will gather volunteers to go to every address within certain West Village parameters that have reported complaints about the rampant violence in the West Village, and we will urge people to go to surveymonkey to our online survey and complete it.

The violence in the West Village is far more severe and far more prevalent than subway sexual harassment, but Scott Stringer will not even acknowledge that it is a problem.

If you have been verbally or physically assaulted, please comment and let us know what your experiences have been, what you did afterward, if the police were involved, if the perpetrators were caught, and what happened to them, if anything.

Contact me at: www.LoveAndWorkCoach.com


West Village Residents Brace for Warm Weather

03/23/2009

West Village residents brace themselves for the lovely warm weather we all anticipate because our NYC politicians refuse to acknowledge the hate crime epidemic that has existed for more than 18 years against residents, merchants, and visitors to the WV from scores of troubled youths who regularly use racial epithets, threats, and violence against anyone they perceive to be more vulnerable than themselves.

I will be making a documentary film about the realities of this violence and will also be consulting with the Federal Department of Justice for assistance.

I have been writing to Christine Quinn and other offices since 2002 BEGGING them to do educational pamphlets for the troubled young people who visit the WV and who take their anger out on others – so they will know how to behave like neighbors AND to please create an ANNUAL TAKE BACK THE NIGHT MARCH for EVERYONE – to make the important point that EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO SAFETY!!!!

Even if these young people are harassed and oppressed and experience violence becuase they are LGBT, that does NOT give them the right to commit violence against others. Most residents and merchants in the WV have tremendous compassion for these young people and fully support LGBT rights. We do not deserve – as nobody deserves – VIOLENCE.

I have walked down Christopher St. many times only to be threatened, grabbed, called a “White Bitch”, followed, had things thrown at me, and many times, have had a young person scream very loudly in my ear, intentionally as they walk by¬† me. All of this is violence and it MUST STOP.

Contact me at: www.LoveAndWorkCoach.com