On Sunday January 17, at State Senator Jesse Hamilton’s inauguration, The Mediation Center was honored with an award presented by the family of Benny Lyde. Benny was a young college student who lived around the corner from the Mediation Center and was fatally shot in 2005. The seeds of the Save Our Streets program began when Benny’s mother Robyn spoke at a community board meeting asking for support with her son’s case and later came to the Mediation Center to ask for help. Mediation Center Director Amy Ellenbogen and S.O.S. Violence Interrupter Shneaqua Purvis accepted the award on behalf of the Mediation Center. The award, a painting by Kyle Egerton, depicts Martin Luther King Jr. with Benny Lyde above him.
The Senator’s inauguration included speeches from dignitaries including Mayor de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Senator Chuck Schumer, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City Council Members Brad Lander. There were also riveting performances from the Gowanus Wildcat Drill team, the Yeshiva Lamplighters, Despers USA Steel Orchestra, Hettie Barnhill from the Broadway show Fela!, La Nueva Salsa de Hoy, and Brace Chinese Association. It was a great honor for the Mediation Center to be highlighted at the event!