Posts Tagged ‘Harlem Mothers Save’

President Obama Announces “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative, a Mantra Here at Catholic Charities

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

High unemployment rates.  High incarceration rates.  Worst of all, sky-high murder rates among black men gunned down in their youth.

President Obama takes on these key issues in his just-announced “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, issues long-tackled by Catholic Charities.

This past month, for example, Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center in Harlem held its third annual Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. basketball tournament.  Run during the February schools break, it provided recreation during the winter recess to keep teens off the streets and inside a supportive environment.

Manhattan District attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (son of former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. Sr).  presented trophies and ribbon medals to the team members who are residents of Juvenal Justice System Homes. Each home comprised one team.

A special five-foot trophy was given to the one player who exhibited the best sportsmanship throughout the tournament.

The motto resounding through each of the five days was “Put down the guns, pick up a  ball and recreate. ”

And that’s what they did.  Each day different speakers addressed these youth with testimony and advise about how to survive adverse climates. Speakers included Inspector Rodney Harris, commander of the 32nd precinct, Deacon Rodney Beckford, director of Catholic Charities Community Services Kennedy Center and  numerous officers from NYPD.

Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. (Stop Another Violent Act) that helped sponsor the event was founded by Jackie  Rowe-Adams and fellow mothers who lost sons to gun violence. The group meets and holds events at Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Community Center.

“I didn’t have a dad in the house,”  President Obama said when he announced the initiative named after the biblical phrase he often uses to share his belief that society must help those facing challenges.  “I made bad choices…I made excuses, sometimes I sold myself short.”

The time to change the cycle is now, President Obama continued.  His “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will work with nonprofit agencies, churches and political leaders to fight back against the drum beat of violence and addiction that has plagued too many for too long.

Marathon Rapathon Against Gun Violence

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Rappers, fans of rap and all who oppose gun violence packed the Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center for a 12-hour nonstop Rapathon on April 6.

“Put your guns down: go to peace side up,” marchers chanted as they joined the End Gun Violence Rapathon.

The Rapathon was open to anyone with a love for Hip Hop, a determination to end gun violence and – the tricky part – the ability to rhyme for 90 seconds straight without cursing.

The community event showcased talented Emcees focused on helping change the current culture of gun violence.  Sponsored by the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, it supported Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., an organization of mothers and fathers who lost children to gun violence.

“We can’t bring our kids back but we can certainly try to help another mother and another mother’s child by doing prevention and education,” says organization cofounder Jackie Rowe Adams.

Rapper Homeboy Sandman offered a sample. “Five weeks you were alive,” he rapped.  “Had full curly hair; big beautiful eyes.”

Ms. Adams, unfortunately, knows firsthand what this type of loss feels like.

“I’ve lost two kids to gun violence,” she said.  “The pain never goes away.”

For more information:

  • Contact Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center at 212-862-6401.
  • Check out Harlem Mothers Save.