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


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


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


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 to meet with the young people and do workshops and trainings around Non-Violent Communication.


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


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.