Amidst freezing cold temperatures, Albany Houses residents, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center staff, program participants, AGVYEP youth, YOSOS participants, JCP participants, Legal Aid representatives, and community members gathered to celebrate. The gathering marked over two years without a shooting or killing in or around Albany Houses, a milestone that was reached in January. The event, held in the Albany Houses Community Center, kicked off with a toilet paper fashion show. During the show, community youth created outfits for two adults using only toilet paper and their own creativity. Following this spectacle, the community celebrated highlights from the past year–shootings have declined in Crown Heights from 24 in 2010 to 3 in 2017, in 2017 S.O.S. hired a former participant from Albany Houses as a Violence Interrupter, and in 2017 S.O.S. Crown Heights staff prepared for, deescalated, and/or mediated 71 conflicts.

The community enjoyed a meal of rice and peas, chicken, fish, and other delicious food from local restaurants. Following the dinner, residents danced and enjoyed each others’ company. Throughout the event, Legal Aid and S.O.S. Crown Heights tabled to provide information and resources to the community. The event was spearheaded by Violence Interrupter Supervisor Dequann, and together with the rest of the street team, the event ran smoothly and was fun for all who attended! Here’s to many more years of building and celebrating safe and healthy communities.