Reporting from Harlem Town Hall

Last week, GOSO Guys past and present, SAVE Cure Violence leadership, criminal justice reform colleagues and the Harlem community gathered for a Town Hall. Featured speakers included Vidal Guzman (look familiar? he’s now with Just Leadership USA); Omar Jackson of SAVE Cure Violence; NY State Senator Brian Benjamin (30th District); Anthony Posada of the Legal Aid Society; Davon Woodley of #CloseRikers; and Iesha Sekou of Street Corner Resources.

In dialogue with the community, presenters spoke about the impact of mass incarceration on individuals and families, the reality of over-policing, specifically in Harlem, and the urgent need for institutional reform. Resources — like those offered by GOSO — are making a difference, setting Guys on the right track for long-term positive change, but more is needed.

Omar Jackson of SAVE encouraged community members to unite in the shared goal of addressing criminal justice issues: “We have to organize  … Raising awareness and educating will help. We’re out there trying to uplift and save our community.”

GOSO is a part of the fabric of Harlem, with offices on East 116th Street, and New York more broadly as our Guys hail from across the five boroughs. We’re sparking change and invested in the long-term work needed to teach our youth to make smart choices. And for those who become involved in the criminal justice system, GOSO is committed to sticking with them providing the fundamental support they need — mental and emotional counseling, job placement assistance, tutoring and more — to make change in their lives.

Photos, top to bottom: GOSO interns stand with former and current GOSO Guys, Vidal Guzman and Mark G., respectively; SAVE’s Omar Jackson addresses the crowd from the podium; Team SAVE in the audience at the Town Hall.