News 12 | Community organization holds town hall to address uptick in gun violence

Originally published by News 12 – The Bronx, May 15, 2024


A community town hall was held on Wednesday in Mount Eden in response to the escalating issue of gun violence in the neighborhood.

Local leaders, law enforcement representatives from the 44th Precinct and community members came together to discuss how to address the uptick in shootings.

New Settlement, a community-led organization hosted the event.

“Our students, our young people and their families have experienced this type of trauma, we want to really speak to our elected officials and give community members access so that they can ask the important questions about what they are doing to combat gun violence,” Rigaud Noel, New Settlement executive director.

The organization says its youth centers were on lockdown twice this year because of shootings in the neighborhood.

“We have young people that are scared to take the train home. So, we actually started to send some of our young people home in cabs so that they feel safer. And so it really impacts our ability to provide critical services to the community,” said Noel.

In April, a 29-year-old man was shot and killed, and three other men were injured when gunmen on scooters opened fire. It happened on East Mount Eden Avenue and Townsend Avenue at 6:15 p.m.

Two months prior, on Feb. 12, six people were shot on a subway platform at the Mount Eden Avenue station. The victims ranged from 14 to 71 years old. A 35-year-old man died.

“Regarding resources, we are down 50 police officers compared to last year,” said NYPD Capt. Yoel Hidalgo, of the 44th Precinct. “But if we get more resources, we can move mountains”

Shootings are up 35% in the 44th Precinct compared to this time last year, with 19 shootings so far this year from 14 at this same time in 2023, according to NYPD crime stats.

Hidalgo says policy changes could make a difference in their policing efforts.

“We are handcuffed the way we have been policing, there are people who have been arrested and they’re out the next day,“ said Hidaglo.

Black History Month event at Bronx Borough Hall honors 14 individuals, Bronx Times

Originally published on Feb. 26, 2024 via

On Feb. 22, “The Renaissance: A Celebration of Black History ” event was held at Bronx Borough Hall, where attendees enjoyed community, music, food and more.

The event was held in partnership with the Bronx Community Justice Center, Assemblymember Chantel Jackson, City Council Member Althea Stevens, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, Sen. Luis Sepulveda, Sen. Jose Serrano and Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson.

Honorees were Shaheim Harrison, creative director for the VIP School Empowerment Coalition and founder of Surplus NYC; Tanya Pedler, president of Morrisania Air Rights Tenant Association; Marisol Rivera, hospital responder coordinator community liaison program manager of community relations; Nicole Perkins, PS 294; Dwayne Brown, Phipps Neighborhood; Jimi Orekoya, New Settlement Community Center; Billy Filmore, Y Men; Ronald Laurent, PS 146 Edward Collins Principle; Kadiatu Sow, Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School; Marlon Gamboa, Samara Community School; Ali Siba, District 16 Youth Advisory Board member; Darien Holloman, SOS; Isaiah Hunter, SOS; and Sherlisely Vining, SOS.

Eastchester: BP Gibson Hosts 3rd Annual Black History Month Celebration

Originally published by Norwood News, February 8, 2024

Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson hosted her 3rd Annual Black History Month celebration at Eastwood Manor, located at 3371 Eastchester Road in the Eastchester section of the Bronx, on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The evening, recognized what was described as the richness of African American culture and history in the borough, and featured special performances by The Harlem Group Ensemble, and Renaissance H.S. Varsity Voices.

Receiving the Aurelia Greene Memorial Award was principal administrative associate of NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Shirley Williams Myrie, who is celebrating her 70th year as a New York City employee. The Bronx native who began her career in 1953, was joined by her family and ACS Commissioner Jess Dannhauser, who hailed her years of dedication to the city as a public servant.

The award is named for beloved former Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene who, as reported, died on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the age of 86.

Also honored was president/CEO of Soul Snacks Cookies, Ralph Rolle, whose product, once a staple at local bodegas in the 1990s, is now being sold at Krogers and Walmart stores across the country.

Recently featured in People magazine and Fortune magazine, Rolle, who once baked out of the kitchen of his apartment at the Bronx River Houses, will soon be partnering with former White House pastry chef under the Obama Administration, Bill Yosses, to start a culinary school based in the Soundview section.

Attendees also heard that executive director of Mt. Eden-based housing nonprofit, New Settlement, Rigaud Yves Noel, another honoree, has served in senior and executive management positions at nonprofits across New York City over the last two decades. Noel credited his Haitian-born parents who, despite financial challenges, sent him to Catholic school to ensure his future success in the workforce.

Norma Saunders, tenant association president and Family Enrichment Center director at Bronx River Houses, located in the Soundview section, was also recognized for what was described as her tireless work in advocating for youth and adults in public housing.

This year’s Youth Award was given to the Renaissance H.S. Varsity Voices. PIX 11’s Arrianee LeBeau served as MC for the event. Other attendees included New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Black History Month got off to a good start for Bronx Jazz singer, Samara Joy, who, as reported, won her third Grammy at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 4, in Los Angeles, CA.

Click herehere, hereherehere, hereherehere, to read some related coverage on this topic, and check our regular Out & About sections for details of various events marking Black History Month throughout February. We will publish a new listing shortly.

Building a Safer Future with Learn to Swim and Lifeguard Opportunities

lifeguarding class with five participants doing a backboarding drill
New Settlement lifeguard trainees practicing a backboard drill.

In the heart of The Bronx, New Settlement is making waves by tackling two significant challenges head-on: the lifeguard shortage and the disparities in swimming abilities among different racial and ethnic groups. Through comprehensive learn-to-swim programs and year-round lifeguard opportunities, New Settlement is transforming lives and creating a safer future for all.

Tackling the Lifeguard Shortage

lifeguard sitting by pool

New Settlement offers comprehensive learn-to-swim programs that serve as a pathway to becoming lifeguard-certified. By adhering to Red Cross standards, young people who participate in these programs develop essential water safety skills, positioning themselves for lifeguard certification not only at New Settlement but also at various facilities across the city. We’re nurturing a new generation of capable lifeguards, actively working to ensure the safety of our aquatic spaces.

Moreover, New Settlement understands the importance of preparing young individuals for the more challenging NYC Lifeguard certification. Through our learn-to-swim programs, participants gain a solid foundation that equips them to handle the demanding training and requirements of becoming NYC-certified lifeguards. New Settlement’s comprehensive approach is instrumental in bridging the gap and addressing the lifeguard shortage in our city.

Addressing Disparities in Swimming Abilities

New Settlement recognizes the significance of equal access to swimming education. Our learn to swim programs focus on providing swimmers of all ages, predominantly Black and Latinx community members, with vital water safety skills. We have inclusive classes for neurodivergent and autistic youth, and swimming opportunities for transgender adults. For seniors, we offer aquatics programs that build strength and fitness. By providing affordable and accessible opportunities, New Settlement aims to bridge the disparities in swimming abilities, ensuring that everyone, especially children, has the opportunity to thrive in the water. We’re fostering a community where everyone can swim confidently.

swim class with child student and teacher
Learn-to-Swim classes are held at the New Settlement Community Center throughout the year.

Building Confidence and Leadership

New Settlement’s impact extends beyond teaching swimming skills. Through learn-to-swim initiatives, participants gain confidence in the water and develop crucial life skills. These programs also open doors to lifeguarding opportunities, offering young individuals well-paid and reliable first jobs. Lifeguarding cultivates responsibility, leadership, and a sense of community service, shaping them into responsible leaders within their communities. New Settlement is not only preparing individuals for exciting careers but also nurturing their personal growth.

New Settlement is committed to addressing the lifeguard shortage and disparities in swimming abilities in our city. Through our comprehensive learn-to-swim programs and lifeguard opportunities, we aim to instill confidence and foster leadership in our swimming participants. At New Settlement, we firmly believe that swimming education is a necessity, not a luxury. We hope to build on our successes and partner with broader city agencies to create lasting impact in the lives of our children and the future of our community.