Columbia Journalism student Suvro Banerji has put together a photo essay about YO S.O.S. Program Coordinator Marlon Peterson. Marlon grew up in Crown Heights, attending P.S. 148, where he graduated as valedictorian and played the steel drum in the renowned Pan Sonatas Steel Orchestra.

As Marlon says:

“Crown Heights is my home. From the hallways of P.S. 138 on Prospect Place and Nostrand Avenue to Brower Park to Sonatas Steel Orchestra on Sterling and Troy to the West Indian Day Parade on Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights is my home. I am a true product of this neighborhood. I have received academic accolades in one vein and handcuffs in the other. I have seen Crown Heights grow from the crack-filled, crime-riddled days of the 1980’s to the gentrifying neighborhood it is becoming. Throughout it all, however, there has remained one constant; crime. As someone that has been on both sides of the crime spectrum as a youth, I have experienced the pain both as the victim and perpetrator of how violence feels. I have experienced the indifference and apathy that many of us feel towards violence in our community. Furthermore, as someone that has spent many years working with young people in Brooklyn, I know of their ability to influence our neighborhood for the good and the bad.”

Before he was the YO S.O.S. program coordinator, Marlon worked as a Violence Interrupter with the S.O.S. program. Marlon was recently honored at the graduation ceremony of Center for Community Alternatives, where he addressed the graduating group. In addition to acting as program coordinator for YO S.O.S., Marlon is a student at New York University. We’re not sure how he does it all.

To learn more about Marlon and the YO S.O.S. program, please watch Interrupting Violence in Crown Heights by Suvro Banerji and Jackie Mader from NYC in Focus, visit the YO S.O.S. blog, like them on facebook, and follow them on twitter.