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Le Moyne to Host Syracuse Youth Group for Dialogue on Violence in the Community

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For Immediate Release) … “Unify Syracuse: A Healing Dialogue,” an event co-hosted by the youth group Team A.N.G.E.L. and the Office of the President at Le Moyne, will take place in the Panasci Family Chapel at the College at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27. The hour-long event, which is free and open to the public, will highlight the life experiences and perspectives of city youth and include an action-oriented dialogue with local leaders.

The speakers include young persons who have successfully overcome what the founder of Team A.N.G.E.L., Timothy ‘Noble’ Jennings-Bey, terms ‘street addictions.’ The group’s name is an acronym for “Avoid Negative Garbage Enjoy Life.”

“Unify Syracuse” stems from a conversation between Le Moyne President Fred Pestello and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner regarding violence and trauma, and their impact on young people and families. The homicide rate is down significantly in Syracuse so far this year, but this positive news was recently offset by a painful reminder of the issue of violence, in the June 2011 death of 20-year-old Kyheem Pringle. When Pestello assigned his staff to ask questions about specific ways for Le Moyne to support anti-violence efforts, one answer emerged repeatedly: “create a space where the young people of our community can be heard.” That advice resonates deeply with the College’s core, Jesuit values of reflection and discernment.

“We need to hear from our youngsters,” confirms Helen Hudson, founder of Mothers Against Gun Violence. “They have the ideas and vision that we older people can learn from.”
In 2009, Jennings-Bey helped to establish the Trauma Response Team, in partnership with the Syracuse Police Department and local clergy. In November 2010, he presented the Syracuse approach, together with Hudson and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, to a workshop at Schenectady County Community College. Trauma response initiatives are now taking root both in Albany and Schenectady. Hudson and Jennings-Bey were profiled in a 2010 film: “The Faith Hope Documentary: A City’s Fight for Peace.”

Local activist Janice Grieshaber Geddes, who established the Jenna Foundation and oversaw its youth mentor programs, notes: “People in this community care, and we need guidance about how to help each other. This will be an important dialogue.”
For more information about the Unify Syracuse event, contact Dolores Byrnes of Le Moyne College at 315-445-4255 or byrnesdm@lemoyne.edu.

posted on: 7/19/2011