Friday, March 30, 2012

North Star Neighborhood Association Meeting Notes

North Star Neighborhood Association
Inaugural Meeting, March 27, 2012

·      On March 27, 2012, about 55 people attended the inaugural meeting the North Star Neighborhood Association.

·      The North Star announced that its next meeting will be on May 15. Agenda TBA.

·      The meeting began with two founding members of the North Star--Charles Harkless and Aissatou Bey-Grecia—giving an account of the genesis of the group and its mission. Harkless and Bey-Grecia emphasized the North Star's goal of bringing diverse members of this community together to work on projects that serve the common good. The hopes of the North Star are that it becomes an association in which citizens feel empowered to envision and effect change for the good.

·      Featured speakers that evening were NYPD Captain Kevin Williams of the 28th Precinct and Reverend Vernon Williams of the Perfect Peace Ministry (

Ø  Captain Williams addressed a number of issues.

1) Dirt-bikes on Harlem's streets: Capt Williams told the group that due to public safety concerns he does not allow his officers to give chase to dirt-bikes. However, he did say that he has had some recent success in seizing dirt bikes--including 8 in the last weeks--and taking them off the streets. Some of this success was due to citizens coming forth and providing his department information on where the dirt-bikes are stored. He encouraged citizens to send him information that would help take the dirt-bikes off the street.

2) iPhone snatchings: A great deal of crime in the 28th precinct involves iPhone snatchings. Capt Williams encouraged people to try to keep their phones in their pockets and to not walk down the street and text at the same time. Also, he advised that people with iPhones turn on the Where is My Phone function.

3) Capt Williams fielded a number of questions and concerns about the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" policy. Capt. Williams said that as long as the NYPD has this policy in place, his officers are going to enforce it, however, he insists that his officers adhere to the exact policy, procedure and the law. He also emphasized that if people wanted this policy changed, then they need to lobby their law-makers and elected officials.

Ø  Reverend Williams spoke about his work to "interrupt" violence among young gangs in Harlem. He encouraged the community to get involved with his work. He hoped that the North Star would be an organization that could help out not just with the work of "interrupting" but also providing services--such as tutoring or employment--for at risk youth.

Before Reverend Williams, a member of our community who was struck in Dec 2011 by a stray bullet on FDB spoke. She gave a moving statement thanking everyone who supported her during her recovery. She also made a plea to stop the gun violence and to come up with productive alternative activities for young people in the community.

Other News and Notes:

·      A representative from the Frederick Douglass Business Association spoke of the work they have done to beautify and energize the corridor. 

·      The North Star has submitted an application to the DOT's pilot "SlowZone" program. The application included 18 letters of support from various members of the community including the Police Athletic League and various block associations. There is no update as of now on the status of the application.

·      The Police Athletic League is looking for volunteers to tutor one hour a week especially in science, math, English, history. Please contact contact: Mr Bobby Ferazi 212-477-9450.

·      The Wadleigh School (212-749-5800) is seeking summer employment opportunities for its students. Please contact guidance counselor Juliandra Garcia ( No job is too small.

·      Friends of Morningside Park ( announced that there are several days for clean-up and planting in Morningside Park. April 15 is the first upcoming scheduled clean-up day.

·      Corbin Hill Farm Share ( registration opens on April 5th. Contact neighborhood coordinator Carey King at or 828-713-5179 for details.